On day 81 of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Ukrainian military is pressing with its counterattacks, while the renewed Russian offensive is faltering

The last Ukrainian defenders in the Azovstal steelworks plant are still holding on. 

A Faltering Russian Military 

In its daily estimate of the war, the British Ministry of Defense focused on the shortcomings of the Russian military, highlighting that Moscow had lost one-third of the combat troops it committed to the invasion prior to the war. 

“Russia’s Donbas offensive has lost momentum and fallen significantly behind schedule. Despite small-scale initial advances, Russia has failed to achieve substantial territorial gains over the past month whilst sustaining consistently high levels of attrition. Russia has now likely suffered losses of one third of the ground combat force it committed in February,” the British Military Intelligence assessed

The British Ministry of Defense also highlighted the failures of the renewed Russian offensive in eastern Ukraine, focusing on the heavy Russian losses in tactical unmanned aerial systems and bridging equipment. Over the past week, the Russian military tried to ford a river in the Donbas three times but was repelled every time, losing more than 70 tanks, armored personnel carriers, and infantry fighting vehicles, among other materiel, in the process. 

“These delays will almost certainly be exacerbated by the loss of critical enablers such as bridging equipment and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance drones. Russian bridging equipment has been in short supply throughout the conflict, slowing and restricting offensive manoeuvre. Russian UAVs are vital for tactical awareness and directing artillery, but have been vulnerable to Ukrainian anti-air capabilities,” the British Ministry of Defense stated.

The more casualties the Russian forces suffer, the less likely they are to achieve a breakthrough in eastern Ukraine. Thus far, the Russian military has failed to achieve any of its primary objectives in Ukraine. 

“Russian forces are increasingly constrained by degraded enabling capabilities, continued low morale and reduced combat effectiveness. Many of these capabilities cannot be quickly replaced or reconstituted, and are likely to continue to hinder Russian operations in Ukraine. Under the current conditions, Russia is unlikely to dramatically accelerate its rate of advance over the next 30 days,” the British Military Intelligence assessed.

“The main efforts of the enemy are focused on breaking through the defence of Ukrainian troops in Luhansk and Donetsk oblasts, as well as establishing full control over the city of Mariupol. In the Zaporozhzhia oblast, the concentration of units of the russian [sic] ccupying forces continues in certain areas,” the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense stated

Russian Casualties 

The high rate of Russian casualties continues as the war nears the three-month mark. 

The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense claimed that as of Sunday, Ukrainian forces have killed approximately 27,400 Russian troops (and wounded approximately thrice that number), destroyed 200 fighter, attack, and transport jets, 164 helicopters, 1,220 tanks, 555 artillery pieces, 2,958 armored personnel carriers, 195 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), 13 boats and cutters, 2,087 vehicles and fuel tanks, 89 anti-aircraft batteries, 416 unmanned aerial systems, 42 special equipment platforms, such as bridging vehicles, and four mobile Iskander ballistic missile systems, and 95 cruise missiles shot down by the Ukrainian air defenses.

1945’s New Defense and National Security Columnist, Stavros Atlamazoglou is a seasoned defense journalist specializing in special operations, a Hellenic Army veteran (national service with the 575th Marine Battalion and Army HQ), and a Johns Hopkins University graduate. His work has been featured in Business InsiderSandboxx, and SOFREP.

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