It has been 101 days since the Russian invasion began. On Saturday, the Ukrainian military is still fighting for Severodonetsk, although the Russian forces have entered and captured parts of the strategic town.
The Ukrainian counteroffensive in the direction of Kherson continues, and the Russian military has failed to regain lost ground despite launching topical counterattacks.
The fight for Severodonetsk continues
Despite previous indications that the Ukrainian military had withdrawn its forces from Severodonetsk, Ukrainian troops are still putting up a fight in and around the key town.
In its latest update on the conflict, the Institute for the Study of War assessed that the Russian military likely controls most of Severodonetsk but that Ukrainian forces continue “to launch localized counterattacks in Severodonetsk and its outskirts.”
The Russian military is also putting pressure on the north (Izium) and south (Bakhmut) of Severodonetsk.
Farther west in the vicinity of Kherson, the Ukrainian military persists with its counteroffensive.
“Russian forces failed to regain lost positions in northeastern Kherson Oblast and continued to defend previously occupied positions. Russian occupation authorities began issuing Russian passports in Kherson City and Melitopol, though they continue to face challenges establishing societal control over occupied territories and ending Ukrainian partisan actions,” the Institute for the Study of War stated.
The stated goal of the Russian military for the renewed offensive in the east is to establish full control over the pro-Russian breakaway territories of Donetsk and Luhansk and create and maintain a land corridor between these territories and the occupied Crimea. To a certain extent, that goal is advancing, with Russian forces in control of most of Luhansk.
Every day, the Ukrainian military is providing an update on their claimed Russian casualties. These numbers are official figures and haven’t been separately verified.
However, Western intelligence assessments and independent reporting corroborate, to a certain extent, the Ukrainian casualty claims. For example, the Oryx open-source intelligence research page has visually verified the destruction or capture of more than 600 Russian tanks, a statement that has been reaffirmed by the British Ministry of Defense.
Same independent verification exists for much of the rest of the Ukrainian claims. Only recently the Pentagon acknowledged that the Russian military has lost thousands of combat vehicles of all types, including over 1,000 tanks, and dozens of fighter jets and helicopters.
As of Saturday, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense is claiming the following Russian casualties:
- 31,050 Russian troops killed (approximately three times that number wounded and captured)
- 3,379 armored personnel carriers destroyed
- 2,337 vehicles and fuel tanks
- 1,376 tanks
- 680 artillery pieces
- 540 tactical unmanned aerial systems
- 210 fighter, attack, and transport jets
- 207 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS)
- 175 attack and transport helicopters
- 122 cruise missiles shot down by the Ukrainian air defenses
- 95 anti-aircraft batteries
- 52 special equipment platforms, such as bridging equipment
- 13 boats and cutters
- four mobile Iskander ballistic missile systems
Over the past few days, the rate of Russian casualties has slowed down significantly despite continuous pressure and offensive operations in the Donbas. This suggests two things: First, the Russian commanders are taking a more cautious approach to their offensive operations, fully utilizing combined arms warfare to achieve their goals; and second, the Ukrainian forces are running out of combat power or ammunition — and this is expected after over three months of war against the Russian military.
The Ukrainian military is also more focused on withdrawing from unattainable positions around Severodonetsk, which also might be the reason why the Russian casualty rates have slowed down.
For most of the last weeks, the Russian military suffered the greatest casualties around the Slovyansk, Kryvyi Rih, and Zaporizhzhia areas, reflecting the heavy fighting that was going on there. As the days went on, most of the heavy fighting shifted toward the direction of Bakhmut, southeast of Slovyansk, around Severodonetsk, a key Ukrainian town, and Lyman.
In recent days, the location of the heaviest casualties shifted again westwards toward the area of Zaporizhzhia—where there is one of Europe’s largest nuclear plants—as a result of a Ukrainian counteroffensive there. On Saturday, Ukrainian forces inflicted the heaviest casualties in the vicinity of Zaporizhzhia, reflecting their counteroffensive in the region.
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