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Russia is increasing its pressure on Bakhmut

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It has been 348 days since the Russian invasion began. On Monday, the fighting on the ground continues, with the situation around Bakhmut being particularly tense.

Fightin in Bakhmut

The Russian military has now assumed control of offensive operations against Bakhmut, relegating the infamous private military company Waner Group to a secondary role. The Russian forces are focusing their attacks to the north and south of the town in an attempt to cut the lines of communication that lead to it. In some places, the Russian forces are 200 meters from the center of Bakhmut.

In the east, the Russian military is conducting daily assaults in the vicinity of Kreminna and Svatove in an attempt to push the Ukrainian forces back. The two sides have been fighting for the two towns since September.

In the south, there is fighting around Vuhledar and long-range strikes all across Kerson and Zaporizhzhia.

Related: Old but mighty: The US is sending the M109 Paladin howitzer to Ukraine

There is tense fighting in Bakhmut. (ISW)

Russian casualties

Every day, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense is providing an update on its 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 close to 1,700 Russian tanks (which amounts to more tanks than the combined armor capabilities of France, Germany, Italy, and the United Kingdom) and more than 8,300 weapon systems of all types; this assessment has been confirmed by the British Ministry of Defense.

The same independent verification exists for most of the other Ukrainian claims. 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.

Related: Ukraine destroys S-400 air defense system claimed to be able to shoot down the F-35

In November, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley shared the U.S. military’s assessment that the Russian military has lost way more than 100,000 troops so far in the war. But U.S. officials revised this assessment in February. Now, U.S. and Western officials estimate that Moscow has lost almost 200,000 troops killed or wounded in the conflict so far.

Yet, proper casualty figures are still hard to compute and verify given the fog and friction of war.

As of Monday, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense is claiming the following Russian casualties:

  • 132,160 Russian troops killed (approximately three times that number wounded and captured)
  • 6,415 armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles destroyed
  • 5,104 vehicles and fuel tanks
  • 3,231 tanks
  • 2,231 artillery pieces
  • 1,958 tactical unmanned aerial systems
  • 796 cruise missiles shot down by the Ukrainian air defenses
  • 461 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS)
  • 294 fighter, attack, and transport jets
  • 284 attack and transport helicopters
  • 227 anti-aircraft batteries
  • 203 special equipment platforms, such as bridging equipment
  • 18 boats and cutters
  • four mobile Iskander ballistic missile systems

On Monday, Ukrainian forces continued to inflict the heaviest in the direction of Bakhmut, which is located in the south of the Donbas, and along the Kreminna-Svatove line in the east.

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.

Feature Image: Soldiers with the Ukrainian army recon the perimeter and establish security Feb. 11, 2016, at the International Peacekeeping and Security Center near Yavoriv, Ukraine. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Adriana M. Diaz-Brown, 10th Press Camp Headquarters)

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Stavros Atlamazoglou

Greek Army veteran (National service with 575th Marines Battalion and Army HQ). Johns Hopkins University. You will usually find him on the top of a mountain admiring the view and wondering how he got there.