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Russian offensives continue to fail in Ukraine

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It has been 370 days since the Russian invasion began. On Tuesday, the Russian forces continue to attack in the Donbas and eastern part of Ukraine but without any significant success.

Russian offensive operations

The Russian forces continue to commit troops and resources to the ongoing large-scale offensive operation in the Donbas. Indeed, according to Ukrainian officials, the Russian military has been escalating its offensive operations in certain parts of the Donbas despite almost no successes so far. Russian troops have made some gains north of Bakhmut, in the Donbas, but have still not succeeded in encircling the town or cutting off its supply routes.

The overall battlefield. (ISW)

In the east, the Russian forces continued to conduct ground assaults in the vicinity of Kreminna and Svatove. The area around the two towns has been contested by both sides since late September.

In the south, the Russian forces continue to expand their fortifications in the eastern bank of the Dnipro River in anticipation of a large-scale Ukrainian counteroffensive later in the year. The Ukrainians are likely to try and split the Russian forces around Crimea.

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.

Soldiers with the Ukrainian Land Forces conduct defensive tactics on counterattack Apr. 1, 2016, during a section live-fire exercise at the International Peacekeeping and Security Center near Yavoriv, Ukraine as part of Joint Multinational Training Group-Ukraine. Each JMTG-U rotation will consist of nine weeks of training where Ukrainian soldiers will learn defensive combat skills needed to increase Ukraine’s capacity for self-defense. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Adriana M. Diaz-Brown, 10th Press Camp Headquarters)

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.

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. According to U.S. intelligence, Russia 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 Tuesday, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense is claiming the following Russian casualties:

  • 149,240 Russian troops killed (approximately three times that number wounded and captured)
  • 6,630 armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles destroyed
  • 5,252 vehicles and fuel tanks
  • 3,388 tanks
  • 2,383 artillery pieces
  • 2,051 tactical unmanned aerial systems
  • 873 cruise missiles shot down by the Ukrainian air defenses
  • 478 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS)
  • 300 fighter, attack, and transport jets
  • 288 attack and transport helicopters
  • 247 anti-aircraft batteries
  • 230 special equipment platforms, such as bridging equipment
  • 18 boats and cutters
  • four mobile Iskander ballistic missile systems

On Tuesday, 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.

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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.

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