The Russo-Ukrainian War of 2022 – Day 16 (ground actions)

The slow grind continues but no real changes on the ground. I will put any changes/updates since yesterday’s 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.

The Battle of Brovary: 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? Various sources are saying artillery or drones. Russian Colonel Andrei Zakharov was supposedly killed at the head of this column. There are pictures of him standing next to Putin in 2016. Two generals have also been killed: Major General Vitaly Gerasimov (age 44) near Kharkov and Major General Andrie Sukhovetskiy (age 47).

During World War II the United States lost 11 generals killed in action. Germany lost 135, and had 84 executed. See: A List of American Commanders in WWII Who Lost Their Lives (warfarehistorynetwork.com)

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 that 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. They are shelling the city and for all practical purposes, it is isolated.

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 ten 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. 

Weather: Kiev at 3 PM: 32 degrees (Fahrenheit, 0 degrees Celsius) and sunny, low tonight 16 degrees. Kharkov at 3 PM: 21 degrees (Fahrenheit), mostly cloudy. Low tonight 8 degrees (-13 Celsius).

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.

Russian Army Build-up: Russia is claiming that they have 16,000 volunteers from the Middle East. Apparently, the pay is $400 a week. 

Opposing forces: Ukraine had before the war an army (ground forces) of 169,000 in 2016. The Russian army (not armed forces) was 280,000. The current Ukrainian army is now probably over 200,000. The Russian army (ground forces) in and around Ukraine is probably around 150,000. They may be able to add more from their own resources, but not much more. If they want to add more, they are going to have to mobilize. They appear to be hesitant to do so. I suspect with full mobilization; we could be looking at a Ukrainian army larger than 300,000. At some point, Russia will have to mobilize to continue this war.

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 is at 116.15 to a dollar as of 8:27 AM EST. Not sure what the exchange rate will be if Russia ever opens its stock market. 

Price of oil (Brent crude): $109.68 as of 8:27 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 10 March 549 civilians confirmed dead in the war. They previously reported that 23 were in territory controlled by Russian separatists. Ukraine is claiming about 2,5000 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. The Donetsk People’s Republic is reporting as of 4 March that they had 77 soldiers killed and 406 wounded (5.27-to-1 wounded-to-killed ratio). See: The overview of the current social and humanitarian situation in the territory of the Donetsk People`s Republic as a result of hostilities in the period from 26 February to 04 March 2022 – Human rights Ombudsman in the Donetsk People’s Republic (ombudsman-dnr.ru). 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

             2100, 7 March       0800, 11 March

Tanks:            141                179

AFVs:               89                108

IFVs:               131                158

APCs:               52                  61

Jet aircraft:      10                  11

Helicopters:     11                  11

 

The @MFA_Ukraine (Ministry of Foreign Affairs) is claiming as of 10 March they have destroyed 335 tanks, 1,105 armored vehicles, 49 aircraft and 81 helicopters. They also claim 12,000 personal killed.

The rate of equipment losses does appear to have slowed down.

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:

           2100, 7 March       0800, 11 March

Tanks:           46                          49

AFVs:            38                          42

IFVs:              33                          36

APCs:            18                          19

Jet aircraft:     6                            7

Helicopters:    0                            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 Ministry of Foreign Affairs that more than 12,000 Russian troops were killed as of 10 March. 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 11 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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7 Comments

  1. “During World War II the United States lost 11 generals killed in action. Germany lost 135, and had 84 executed. ”

    The higher combat losses of German generals reflected different leadership style of German officers and were considered nothing special in Germany. (Creveld “Fighting Power”, Muth ” Command Culture”).

    For the executed officers it is a save bet that the majority died as result of the 20th of July 1944. Do you have an example that a German general was executed for incompetence? Dozens were executed for war crimes after the war.

    • Well, the count for the Russians is now supposedly up to 3 out of 20. High general losses are indicative of either:

      1. Doctrinal traditions.
      2. Poor morale, so they need to lead close to the front lines.
      3. Poor security, caused by insecure flanks and rear.

      But 3 killed is high, especially as we are only two weeks into the war and forces deployed are a fraction of what was deployed in WWII or Vietnam.

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