It has been 95 days since the Russian invasion began. On Sunday, the Russian military is keeping up the pressure in the Donbas as it gradually moves forward, pushing the Ukrainian forces back. Most of the fighting is taking place in and around Severodonetsk, a key Ukrainian city in eastern Ukraine.
But the Ukrainian military isn’t staying still and has launched a counteroffensive in southern Ukraine.
In its daily estimate of the war, the Institute for the Study of War assessed that the Russian military has made some limited gains in its assault in and around Severodonetsk. The Russian forces are also pushing from Lyman, in the north, and Bakhmut, in the south, setting up the conditions for the creation of a pocket around Severodonetsk should the different axes of the advance meet.
“Russian forces are assaulting Severdonetsk [sic] even though they have not yet encircled it. They are making territorial gains and may succeed in taking the city and areas further west. The Ukrainian military is facing the most serious challenge it has encountered since the isolation of the Azovstal Plant in Mariupol and may well suffer a significant tactical defeat in the coming days if Severodonetsk falls, although such an outcome is by no means certain, and the Russian attacks may well stall again,” the Institute for the Study of War assessed.
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. The same independent verification exists for the rest of the Ukrainian claims. Only recently the Pentagon acknowledged that the Russian military has lost thousands of combat vehicles of all types and dozens of aircraft.
As of Sunday, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense is claiming the following Russian casualties:
- 30,150 Russian troops killed (approximately three times that number wounded and captured)
- 3,270 armored personnel carriers destroyed
- 2,240 vehicles and fuel tanks
- 1,338 tanks
- 631 artillery pieces
- 504 tactical unmanned aerial systems
- 207 fighter, attack, and transport jets
- 203 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS)
- 174 attack and transport helicopters
- 116 cruise missiles shot down by the Ukrainian air defenses
- 93 anti-aircraft batteries
- 48 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.
For most of last week, 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.
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 casualties. On Sunday, the Russian forces suffered the most casualties again around the direction of Bakhmut.
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