The Russo-Ukrainian War of 2022 – Day 15 (ground actions)

No real change for like the tenth day in the row. I will put the updated sections of this daily post in italics. Russia continues to occupy three cities, Berdyansk (pop. 107,928), Melitopol (pop. 150,768) and Kherson (pop. 283,649).

They have isolated Mariupol. The city has been without power since 1 March. I gather the Russian forces in that area are not overwhelming. Not sure they have the strength to take it or will try. Instead, it appears that they are going to try to starve it out. The vice-mayor said on the morning of 3 March on CNN that they could hold out for five days. This is now a city far enough away from the other fighting grounds, that I assume there will no real attempt to relieve it. 

So, it does appear that this is the first “siege” of the campaign. Is the future of the Russian offensive? Is the next one at Kharkov? 

We are looking six major areas of operations right now.

1. Kiev

2. Odessa

3. Kharkov

4. The Donetsk and Lugansk provinces
5. Mariupol
6. Crimean border/Kherson

Here is what I have heard/seen from open sources:

1. Kiev (pop: 2,962,180): The reinforced Russian Army is in the northern outskirts of Kiev (the Obolon district). They have also occupied the defunct nuclear power plant at Chernobyl, the large Antonov/Hostomel airport north of Kiev, and Irpin, the suburbs west of Kiev. The center of the city appears peaceful and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is still able to broadcast messages from his office in Kiev. I gather the city is still open to the south.

Update: That tank column that is being hit that is show in various videos (See: Video shows destruction of tanks on the outskirts of Brovary, Ukraine – YouTube) is from Brovary (pop. 109,473), a suburb to the NE of Kiev. Anyone care to count size of column vice how many were hit? Can anyone tell what weapons did these hits?

This video has what I believe is the Russian radio traffic. They have appeared to have clipped in some pictures of Turkish drone that are not from the event: Kyiv Region Dozens Of Armored Vehicles Was Defeated By The Ukrainian Artillery, Tanks And Drones – YouTube

This is an interesting video. Claims two tanks and one BTR destroyed (which looks about right) and 30 Russian casualties. Claims it was done with RPGs. See: Russian armoured convoy destroyed in ambush near Kyiv, Ukrainian soldiers claim – YouTube

Interesting video of a Ukranian infantry counterattack near Kiev. Four minutes long. Worth watching: Ukrainian Troops Attempt To Drive Russian Forces From Village Near Kyiv – YouTube

Chernigov (pop. 285,234) it located to the NNE of Kiev. The Russians have pushed columns past the city and down to Kiev, but the city remains under Ukrainian control. It is reported that all exits from the city have been mined. There have been some Russian tank and jet aircraft losses around this area.

2. Odessa (pop: 1,015,826): Appears to be safe and secure for now. Continue to see news reports (CNN and France 24) of the locals building up the defenses there. They did damage (sink?) a 1300-to-1700-ton patrol vessel yesterday: Vasily Bykov

3. Kharkov (pop: 1,433,886): Kharkov is being shelled but it does not look like the Russians have tried to re-enter the city.  

There was at least one video-based report a couple of days ago of a Ukrainian counterattack outside of Kharkov. I then noted this recent video, which kind of looks like a recent Ukrainian counterattack. See: Welcome to Ukraine S…. This minute long video is definitely worth watching. It shows four tanks abandoned/destroyed, two Lt. Colonels were killed, and at least a half-dozen fuel trucks taken/destroyed.  The fight occurred at Chuhuiv, 35 km SE of Kharkov. It is on the map above.

As I suspect that surrounding and besieging Kharkov will be the next major objective of the Russian Army after they take Mariupol, I do consider this significant. The question is, is it significant enough to keep Kharkov from being encircled.

Sumy (pop. 259,660) looks in danger of being isolated. The Russians have taken Konotop (pop. 84,787).

4. The Donetsk and Lugansk provinces: So far, we have not heard much from this area. We do have a casualty report dated 7 March from the Donetsk People’s Republic saying they have 47 soldiers killed and 179 wounded.

5. Mariupol (pop: 431,859): Day 9 of the siege. This city of part of the Donetsk Oblast (province/county) and is on the route to Crimea. Mariupol is partly encircled and the power to the city is down. It appears they are going to keep it isolated and besiege it. The vice-mayor of this city said on 3 March that they can hold out for five days. I do not expect any significant relief columns.

6. Crimea & Kherson (pop: 283,649): Kherson is under Russian control. 

Mikolaiv (pop. 476,101), the city on the Southern Bug River just west of Kherson, is still under Ukranian control. There has been a lot of fighting here recently, but it looks like the Ukrainian Army is holding.

Update: An older short video (March 6) from Mikolaiv area: Ukrainian soldiers find field full of abandoned Russian tanks after invaders ‘fled their post’ – YouTube

The Russians appear to have gained control of a lot of the area just to the north of Crimea. This may be the end of their expansion in this area for now until they take Mariupol. 

Russia has taken Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, which is making everyone nervous. It is the largest nuclear power plant in Europe.

I will update this post during the day as I find more information. 

Ukrainian Army Build-up: According to the Ukrainian defense minister, more have 140,000 Ukrainians has returned and more than 20,000 foreigners from 52 countries have appealed to fight for Ukraine. This includes about 3,000 Americans who have “expressed interest” according to Ukraine. “So far, about 100 U.S. citizens have made the cut.” Volunteers also include “up to 500” Indians and about 1,000 Canadians. I have seen reports of volunteers from places like Thailand and Japan (70 volunteers). All these figures are questionable, we shall see how many actually show up in Lviv. According to senior U.S. officials, the U.S. and other NATO members have so far sent Ukraine 17,000 AT missiles and 2,000 Stinger AA missiles.

The Russian Home Front: Count of detained protesters is claimed to be over 13,000 since the war began, with at least 4,640 people this last Sunday. See: OVD-info. Protests continue. At least 800 people have been detained in Belarus. 11,569 medical professionals have signed a letter protesting the war, using their names, title and affiliation. 

Exchange rate: The Ruble has yet again allied to 119.20 to a dollar as of 8:36 AM EST. Not sure what the exchange rate will be if Russia ever opens its stock market. 

Price of oil (Brent crude): $116.24 as of 8:36 AM EST. The last report I saw, 52% of the Russian government revenue comes from oil (even though it makes up only 7% of their economy). There is a strong desire on the part of the west to bring this price down, as it undercuts their budget. Several years ago, if the price of oil dropped below $80, the Russian budget would go into the red.

They have stopped production Ladas (the largest Russian produced automobile) and placed thousands of workers “on leave,”

Casualties: The UN is reporting for 9 March 516 civilians confirmed dead in the war. They previously reported that 23 were in territory controlled by Russian separatists. Ukraine is claiming over 2,000 civilians killed. Ukraine is reporting on 1 March over 110 soldiers killed. Russia is claiming to have captured 572 soldiers (which is entirely believable). U.S. officials are saying that between 2,000 to 4,000 Ukrainian troops have been killed.

Russia reported on 2 March 498 troops have been killed and 1,597 wounded. This is a 3.21-to-1 wounded-to-killed ratio, which seems a little low (see link below). Ukraine is reporting almost 200 Russians captured. Donetsk People’s Republic is reporting on 7 March that they had 47 soldiers killed and 179 wounded (3.81-to-1 wounded-to-killed ratio). U.S. officials are now claiming figures of around 3,500 to 6,000 Russian soldiers killed. In the past they have claimed 3,000 captured. Have no idea of the validity of the U.S. figures but suspect the Russian casualty figures are understated (because they kind of always are).

Note: Wounded-To-Killed Ratios | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org)

Also see Chapter 15 (Casualties) in War by Numbers.

The twitter account @oryxspioenko is reporting on 5 March 99 Russian tanks have been lost by Russia based upon visual confirmation. For 6 March this is now 116. He is also reporting at this time 10 Russian aircraft shot down in the last 26 hours based upon videos of them being shot, been shot down, or their crews captured. This includes five Su-25s, Su-30s and Su-34 jets. Granted Russian has well over a thousand modern jet aircraft, but it does show that the Ukrainians do have some capability to defend their airspace. I gather as more Stingers and other surface-to-air missiles are received and deployed; this is going to become a more dangerous environment. It may serve to contain Russian air.

Russian Equipment Losses: As of 2100 hours on 7 March, @oryxspioenko is reporting the following Russian losses based upon his analysis of pictures and videos. See: https://www.oryxspioenkop.com/2022/02/attack-on-europe-documenting-equipment.html

Tanks: 141

AFVs: 89

IFVs: 131

APCs: 52

Jet aircraft: 10

Helicopters: 11

 

Ukrainian Equipment Losses: As of 2100 hours on 7 March, @oryxspioenko is reporting the following Ukrainian losses based upon his analysis of pictures and videos:

Tanks: 46

AFVs: 38

IFVs: 33

APCs: 18

Jet aircraft: 6

Helicopters: 0

 

Have no idea how accurate this count really is (the Ukrainian losses seem low), but I figure it is probably the best count publicly available.

It is clear that at least 1,500 people have died in this conflict. It may be more like 3,000 deaths. The U.S. provided estimates are higher. I am not confident in the accuracy of claims like those made by the Ukrainian general staff that more than 11,000 Russian troops were killed in the first 10 days. Zelenskyy’s office is also claiming that 1,200 people have died in Mariupol over the course of the nine-day siege there.

There are people doing a better job of this on Twitter, including @RALee85 and @Oryxspioenkop and @caucasuswar, none of whom are known to me.

End of the War:  While Ukrainian and Russian delegations are talking, I don’t expect much from this in the short term. Mariupol is supposed to have fallen already. I suspect the Russians will not be interested in negotiating until they have taken it. It is part of the Donetsk province.

Peskov, the Kremlin spokesman, provided four conditions for a cease fire:

  1. Ukraine ceases military action,
  2. Change its constitution to enshrine neutrality (i.e. never join NATO),
  3. Acknowledge Crimea as Russian territory, and
  4. Recognize the People’s Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk as independent states. 

These same demands were made at the talks with Ukraine yesterday in Turkey. Needless to say, these talks went nowhere.

The attached map is from Wikipedia giving the “Military situation as of 10 March 2022.” View with caution, but it does appear to be one of the better maps out there.

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Christopher A. Lawrence
Christopher A. Lawrence

Christopher A. Lawrence is a professional historian and military analyst. He is the Executive Director and President of The Dupuy Institute, an organization dedicated to scholarly research and objective analysis of historical data related to armed conflict and the resolution of armed conflict. The Dupuy Institute provides independent, historically-based analyses of lessons learned from modern military experience.
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Mr. Lawrence was the program manager for the Ardennes Campaign Simulation Data Base, the Kursk Data Base, the Modern Insurgency Spread Sheets and for a number of other smaller combat data bases. He has participated in casualty estimation studies (including estimates for Bosnia and Iraq) and studies of air campaign modeling, enemy prisoner of war capture rates, medium weight armor, urban warfare, situational awareness, counterinsurgency and other subjects for the U.S. Army, the Defense Department, the Joint Staff and the U.S. Air Force. He has also directed a number of studies related to the military impact of banning antipersonnel mines for the Joint Staff, Los Alamos National Laboratories and the Vietnam Veterans of American Foundation.
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His published works include papers and monographs for the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment and the Vietnam Veterans of American Foundation, in addition to over 40 articles written for limited-distribution newsletters and over 60 analytical reports prepared for the Defense Department. He is the author of Kursk: The Battle of Prokhorovka (Aberdeen Books, Sheridan, CO., 2015), America’s Modern Wars: Understanding Iraq, Afghanistan and Vietnam (Casemate Publishers, Philadelphia & Oxford, 2015), War by Numbers: Understanding Conventional Combat (Potomac Books, Lincoln, NE., 2017) , The Battle of Prokhorovka (Stackpole Books, Guilford, CT., 2019), The Battle for Kyiv (Frontline Books, Yorkshire, UK, 2023), Aces at Kursk (Air World, Yorkshire, UK, 2024), Hunting Falcon: The Story of WWI German Ace Hans-Joachim Buddecke (Air World, Yorkshire, UK, 2024) and The Siege of Mariupol (Frontline Books, Yorkshire, UK, 2024).
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Mr. Lawrence lives in northern Virginia, near Washington, D.C., with his wife and son.

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2 Comments

  1. Christopher – I tried to do a rough and ready calculus to translate equipment losses into unit losses based on TO&E and couldn’t easily find reliable usable data. Any thoughts on how the reported losses equate into units?

    • I have toyed with that a little too. I don’t know how we get there from where we are at now. One could do a rather intricate effort to try to track each tank, IFV and truck back to their original unit based upon videos and chalk markings on vehicles, but we have no real idea if we have videos of even half the losses. Do we have a good count of Russian equipment losses in those areas where they held the battlefield? Do we have a good count of Ukrainian equipment losses?

      It all appears very nebulous.

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