It has been 92 days since the Russian invasion began. On Thursday, the Russian military continues to push with multiple offensives in the Donbas. The adjusted, smaller scope of the Russian attack is likely to produce some gains. Thus far, the Russian campaigns in Ukraine were characterized by lofty goals that didn’t really reflect the capabilities of the Russian military.
Fierce fighting in the east
In its latest estimate of the war, the Institute for the Study of War assessed that the Russian military is advancing in several places in the Donbas, aiming for small encirclements.
“Russian forces prioritized advances east and west of Popasna in order to cut Ukrainian ground lines of communication (GLOCs) southwest of Severodonetsk and complete encirclement efforts in Luhansk Oblast. Russian forces have likely entered Lyman and may use this foothold to coordinate with advances southeast of Izyum to launch an offensive on Siversk,” the Institute for the Study of War assessed.
In certain places in the Donbas, the Russian military is enjoying a seven-to-one numerical superiority, according to the Ukrainian military.
“Russian forces may start the Battle of Severodonetsk prior to completely cutting off Ukrainian GLOCs southwest and northwest of Severodonetsk. Russian forces struck Zaporizhzhia City in an attempt to disrupt a key logistics hub for Ukrainian forces operating in the east,” the Institute for the Study of War added.
Meanwhile, the Russian plans for eastern and southern Ukraine begin to emerge. Russian authorities have fast-tracked the issuance of passports and Russian citizenship to people in the Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson, and other occupied Ukrainian territories in an attempt to apply a veneer of legitimacy to their occupation. But Moscow has been doing more than just that. For example, some of those who oppose the occupation are being forcibly relocated.
“We certainly have a view on some of the horrific tactics that the Russian Federation has employed in parts of Ukraine, eastern Ukraine, where its forces are present. We have seen Russian forces forcibly remove individuals from occupied territory. We have seen Russia’s forces transport Ukrainians to the so-called filtration camps. We have seen Russia’s forces attempt through other ways to subjugate, otherwise subdue the Ukrainian people in these areas,” State Department spokesperson Ned Price said in a press briefing.
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.
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 the rest of the Ukrainian claims.
As of Thursday, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense is claiming the following Russian casualties:
- 29,600 Russian troops killed (approximately three times that number wounded and captured)
- 3,235 armored personnel carriers destroyed
- 2,225 vehicles and fuel tanks
- 1,315 tanks
- 617 artillery pieces
- 502 tactical unmanned aerial systems
- 206 fighter, attack, and transport jets
- 201 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS)
- 170 attack and transport helicopters
- 114 cruise missiles shot down by the Ukrainian air defenses
- 93 anti-aircraft batteries
- 47 special equipment platforms, such as bridging equipment
- 13 boats and cutters
- four mobile Iskander ballistic missile systems
For most of last week, the latest 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 in the east.
However, now the heaviest fighting is taking place around Severodonetsk, a key Ukrainian town that the Russian military is trying to surround, and Lyman, where the Russian military suffered the highest casualties yesterday. The Russian forces suffered the most casualties around the city of Avdiivka, which is located slightly north of Donetsk.
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