It has been 97 days since the Russian invasion began. On Tuesday, the Russian military is making gains in Severodonetsk and has entered the city from multiple directions.
Meanwhile, the Ukrainian military presses on with its counteroffensive farther west around Kherson and Mykolaiv.
All About the Donbas
In its latest estimate of the conflict, the Institute for the Study of War focused on the situation in and around Severodonetsk.
The Russian military has entered the city but hasn’t fully encircled it yet. But the Russian forces continue to threaten a wider encirclement in the rear of Severodonetsk.
“Russian forces focused on regrouping near Izyum to renew offensives towards Slovyansk and Barvinkove and conducted only minor, unsuccessful, attacks. Russian forces are making incremental advances towards Slovyansk and seek to assault the city itself in the coming weeks, but are unlikely to achieve decisive gains,” the Institute for the Study of War assessed.
Meanwhile, the Ukrainian counteroffensive in the direction of Kherson hasn’t reclaimed any significant ground but has successfully disrupted Russian operations in the area, which might have been the Ukrainian goal from the start.
“The limited Ukrainian counterattack in northern Kherson Oblast did not take any further ground in the last 48 hours but has disrupted Russian operations. Russian forces launched several unsuccessful attacks against the Ukrainian bridgehead on the east bank of the Inhulets River. Mounting casualties among Russian junior officers will further degrade Russian morale and command and control capabilities,” 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.
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 Tuesday, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense is claiming the following Russian casualties:
- 30,500 Russian troops killed (approximately three times that number wounded and captured)
- 3,302 armored personnel carriers destroyed
- 2,275 vehicles and fuel tanks
- 1,358 tanks
- 649 artillery pieces
- 515 tactical unmanned aerial systems
- 208 fighter, attack, and transport jets
- 207 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS)
- 174 attack and transport helicopters
- 120 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: Firstly, that the Russian commanders are taking a more cautious approach to their offensive operations by fully utilizing combined arms warfare to achieve their goals. Secondly, that 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 ongoing 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 that the Russian military is trying to surround, and Lyman, where the Russian military suffered casualties.
On Tuesday, 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. The Ukrainian forces continued to inflict the heaviest casualties in the area as they are trying to recapture Kherson.
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