The days pass and the Ukrainian counteroffensive continues to look for an operational breakthrough in Southern Ukraine and the Donbas.
For the time being, the Russian military is putting up a skillful defense and has prevented Ukrainian forces from breaching its extensive lines of defense.
However, Russian forces are taking heavy losses.
Russian Force Generation Woes in Ukraine
The Kremlin continues to shuffle its deck in a desperate attempt to prevent a Ukrainian breakthrough. And for good reason.
An operational breakthrough at this point could be disastrous for the Kremlin’s invasion in Ukraine. It would divide Russia’s forces into two chunks and bring Ukrainian forces to the doorstep of the Crimean Peninsula.
But the Russian military is faced with extreme force generation issues, and that is stretching its resources to the limit. Moscow is taking a considerable risk by relocating forces from quieter parts of the battlefield to reinforce positions in Southern Ukraine and the Donbas.
The Ukrainians, after all, could take advantage of this relocation of forces to launch another offensive somewhere else on the battlefield. It wouldn’t be the first time. Last year at around this time, the Ukrainians launched their most successful counteroffensive in the conflict so far, attacking in Eastern Ukraine after months of attacking in the south.
Moreover, by continuing to commit any available units to countering the Ukrainian counteroffensive, the Russian military is limiting its chance for future successful large-scale offensive operations. As a result, Moscow runs the danger of getting stuck in a war of attrition that slowly bleeds its forces away.
To be sure, the Kremlin might be looking for exactly such attrition to force the Ukrainians to the negotiating table. But with the West’s continuous support to Ukraine, such an approach might backfire and bring about a humiliating Russian defeat.
Russian Casualties in Ukraine
On day 572 of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s illegal invasion of Ukraine, the Russian military and pro-Russian separatist forces continue to take significant casualties.
Over the past 24 hours, Russian forces lost more than 600 men killed, wounded, or captured, as well as dozens of heavy weapon systems, drones, and vehicles. The rate of Russian losses continues to be significant and keeps presenting Russian policymakers and military leaders with problems.
Overall, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense claimed that as of Monday, Ukrainian forces have killed and wounded approximately 272,940 Russian troops. They also claim they have destroyed 322 fighter, attack, bomber, and transport jets; 316 attack and transport helicopters; 4,623 tanks; 6,027 artillery pieces; 8,834 armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles; 776 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems; 20 boats and cutters; 8,571 vehicles and fuel tanks; 525 anti-aircraft batteries; 4,769 tactical unmanned aerial systems; 901 special equipment platforms, such as bridging vehicles, and four mobile Iskander ballistic missile systems; and 1,462 cruise missiles shot down by Ukrainian air defenses.
A 19FortyFive Defense and National Security Columnist, Stavros Atlamazoglou is a seasoned defense journalist specializing in special operations and a Hellenic Army veteran (national service with the 575th Marine Battalion and Army HQ). He holds a BA from the Johns Hopkins University, an MA from the Johns Hopkins’ School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), and is pursuing a J.D. at Boston College Law School. His work has been featured in Business Insider, Sandboxx, and SOFREP.