The Russo-Ukrainian War of 2022 – Day 69 (ground actions)

Week ten of the war. It does appear that the wettest of weather has passed. Mostly clear weather forecast for the next week. So, waiting now for when the war resumes in earnest. Don’t see any major offensives yet. The major action for the last three days appears to be a limited Ukrainian offensive to the north of Kharkov that took five villages. More discussion on this below in the Kharkov section. It does not appear that Russia is actually moving forward at the moment.

A link to a blow up of the map is here: Wikipedia map. I will put any changes/updates since my last post in italics. Not much new today, which is actually pretty interesting. This posting has gotten above 6,500 words. I am probably going to spin off some sections into separate posts over the next couple of days.

Is it now time for Russia to start its main offensive in earnest? Does a renewed Russian offense push southwest (towards Dnipro) or south (to encircle Slovyansk and Kramatorsk)? It does appear that they thinned their forces around Kharkov and concentrated everything around Izium.

The real objective here seems to be the cities of Siervierdonetsk (pop. 101,135), Lysychansk (pop. 95,031), Sloviansk (pop. 106,972) and Kramatorsk (pop. 150,084) in the Lugansk and Donetsk provinces. These are all very close to each other. Is Russia going to limit themselves to cleaning up the rest of the areas claimed by the LPR and DPR (and then try to negotiate a cease fire), or are they going to strike towards other areas, like Kharkov and Dnipro?

Russia controls the majority of isolated Mariupol, with a group of over a thousand Ukrainians holding out in a steel mill. Russia appears be unable to finish them off, so not sure how much longer this drags on. Depends on food and water I guess. They are not going to be relieved. Ukrainian Army remains over 60 miles away.

It appears that Kiev, Chernigov, Sumy and the northeast part of Ukraine are secure. Of course, Russia can always reintroduce troops later from Russia or Belarus. They are supposed to have 20 BTGs in Russia.

Russia continues to occupy three cities, Berdyansk (pop. 107,928), Melitopol (pop. 150,768) and Kherson (pop. 283,649). Russia has taken all of Izium (pop. 45,884) as of 1 April. 

We are looking at six major areas of operations right now.

1. Kiev – secure

2. Odessa – secure

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): It appears that Kiev is secure. 

2. Odessa (pop: 1,015,826): Appears to be secure. Do not think it is in danger anymore from amphibious invasion. The range of a Ukrainian manufactured Neptune missile is 175 miles (280 kilometers). The distance from Odessa to Sevastopol is 188 miles (which is reported to have militarized dolphin pens). The distance from Odessa to Chisinau, the capital of land-locked Moldova (pop. 2.6 million), is about 100 miles. Finally saw an article today that backs my view of the situation: Russia struggles to turn Black Sea rule into amphibious attack. There does some to be some action on and around the now famous Snake Island, which is just off the coast of border between Romania and Ukraine. 

I do hear some talk about the Russian separatist Transnistria (pop. maybe 347,251), officially called PMR (Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic), becoming somehow involved in this war, but I don’t see it. They are pretty small and pretty isolated. Russia does have a force of 1,500 troops there based at a decommissioned Soviet-era ammunition depot at Cobasna where it guards 22,000 tons of military equipment and ammunition. This force consists of two motor rifle battalions, and independent security and support battalion, a helicopter detachment and other smaller administrative detachments. These troops also patrol and man the borders of Transnistria. Suspect the threats to activate them is more for the sake of drawing Ukrainian attention away from the main battle front. Actually activating them would drag Transnistria into the war, which being isolated and almost 200 miles from the nearest Russian units would probably end poorly for them. The “Dnestr Republic” was reported to have 4,500 to 5,500 troops and the Moldavan armed forces consisted of 6,500 troops as of 2007, with their ground forces being 5,710.

A Russian news agency (RIA) quoting the Russian defense ministry today said that 1 person was killed and 27 were missing from the sunk cruiser Moskva and the remaining 396 crew were evacuated. 396 + 1 + 27 = 424, which is less than the ship’s reported strength of 485 or 510. There are reports out there that the count of missing exceeds 27.

3. Kharkov (pop: 1,433,886): Kharkov looks to be securely held but is still being shelled. One person killed and 8 wounded on 27 April according to Ukraine and another Kharkov resident was killed and five injured on 29 April. The Ukrainians did uncover a man in Kharkov who was storing 19 rebuilt tank engines and other parts for use by Russians if they ever got that far.

A Ukrainian advance to the SE of Kharkov on 18 April has reached Pechenihy (pop. 5,058), which is now being contested. Ukraine is also reported contesting Kochetok (pop. 2,968) on 18 April and Kazacha Lopan (pop. 5,0005) on 22 April. Kazacha Lopan (Cossack Lopan) is due north of Kharkov and is three miles from the Russian border. The Ukrainians took control on 28 April of the village of Kutuzovka to the north of Kharkov. y also re-took Ruska Lozova on 29 April, just on the northern outskirts of Kharkov. They re-claimed five villages on Sunday. These are Verkhnyaya Roganka (23 km ENE of Kharkov), Slobodskoye, Prilestnoye, Momotove and Kutuzivka. Ukrainian video (2:01) but gives a view of these areas: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=osanIeHUD2w

Map from General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, operational information as of 18:00 on 30 April 2022. Pulled from Dr. Michael MacKay at @mhmck.

It does appear that Russia has thinned out its forces in this area and Ukraine it taking advantage of that. They are still fighting over a front of over 900 kilometers or 600 miles (this is a rough eyeball guess, I have not measured it exactly). Russia supposedly only has 92 BTGs deployed in Ukraine, so if one is concentrating forces around Izium, still has a couple BTGs tied down in Mariupol, still has some holding Kherson, the area NE of Kherson, Melitopol and surrounding areas, etc., then this does not leave a whole lot for the Kharkov area. This is a problem Russia has warring with a defender who is roughly equal in deployed manpower.

This analysis was inspired by a twitter posting by @PhillipsPObrien. He said it was a front line of 400 miles to cover, but the line from Kherson to north of Khakov is clearly more than that.

There was an explosion yesterday in the Belgorod region at Tomorovka (map in my Kursk book). A rail bridge also went down near Kursk. The provincial governor said it was sabotage. On 26 April an ammo depot near Belgorod, Russia was attacked. There was also a major fire also reported at an oil storage facility this last week in the Bryansk region near the border. There was a report this weekend of a Ukrainian aircraft “shelling” a village of Zhecha in the Bryansk Region in Russia.

The Russians continued to expand southward from Izium, which is listed here as it is in the Kharkov Province even though their advance is heading south. They have captured the town of Zavody and the NE outskirts of Velyka Komyshuvakha. The last few days the Russians do appear to have been pushing to the southwest towards Barvinkove (pop. 8,110), vice the south or southeast. So it is either a broader encirclement of Slavyansk and Kramatorsk, or the rumored drive on Dnipro (which I really don’t believe they are going to try). Still, no villages have been reported taken in this area for the last few days. Are they taking a breather before the start of the main offensive?

A video from Sky News from Barvinkove (3:58): Ukraine War: Ukrainian soldiers stand firm in Barvinkove. Trench warfare (2:14)?

The Russians have two options for an encirclement of the Ukrainian areas of Lugansk and Donetsk province. One is the “smaller option” of striking from Kreminna and near Soledar to surround Sieverierodonesk and Lysychansk. The other is a “larger option” to strike from Izium and surround Sloviansk and Kramatorsk also. They may try both. If they are doing that, then I assume options like a renewed assault on Kharkov or a drive towards Dnipro (which is a good distance away) are off the table. 

4. The Donetsk and Lugansk provinces: The Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) is reporting as of 28 April that they had 1,523 soldiers killed and 6,167 wounded (4.05-to-1 wounded-to-killed ratio) out of a supposed strength of 20,000. This is 38% casualties out of an estimated force of 20,000, which is pretty serious. They have been surprisingly diligent about regularly reporting their casualty figures. One wonders if some Russian losses or contractors are being included in these figures. Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR) is reported as of 5 April to have had 500-600 killed out of an estimated force of 14,000. This is 21% casualties, assuming a 4-to-1 killed ratio. Don’t know how many of DPR and LPR forces are Russians from Russia as opposed to locals.

Zelensky in an interview on CNN on 17 April said they had 44,000 professional military men in the Donbas.

Sievierodonetsk (pop. 101,135) might soon come under assault or possibly siege. It is already in danger of being surrounded, with Russian or DPR forces near Bakhmut (pop. 72,310) and Soledar (pop.10,692) and pushing down from the north from Kreminna and Rubizhne and from the south from Novotoshkivske.

The Russian and LPR (Lugansk People’s Republic) have taken Kreminna (pop. 18,417). This village is to the NW of Sievierdonetsk and Lysychansk (pop. 95,031). Videos verified by CNN show Russian forces in central Rubizhne (pop. 56,066). I gather it is still being contested. It does look the Russians are slowly advancing towards Sievierodonetsk and Lysychansk from the north. This metropolitan area has a combined population of around 350,000. 

They are reporting advancing to the north of Lyman (pop. 20,469), capturing the town of Zarichne (Ukraine report). Torske (pop. 1,653) is reported as contested, but I gather is still in Ukrainian hands.

To the northwest of Sievierodonetsk, Rubizhne (pop. 56,066) is still reported as contested with CNN showing a video of Russian troops in the center of the city on 20 April.

The Russians are reported to be advancing to the south of Sievierodonetsk, capturing the town of Novotoshkivske (pop. 2,170) according to a Ukraine report. Popasna (pop. 19,672) is also reported as contested, but it appears that Ukraine is still holding it.

Further south also reported as contested are Avdiyivka (31,940). Avdiyivka is still in Ukranian hands. 

Between the advances south of Izium, near Lyman, at Rubizhne and south of Sievierdonetsk, I am guessing that these are preparatory actions before the main Russian offensive. If this already is the main Russian offensive, then this is kind of sad.

The map below shows the operations better than I can and shows from left to right Izium, Lyman, Torske, Kreminna, Rubizhne, Popasna (Popasnaya), Soledar and Bakhmut, along with the four majors cities that would be the objective of this offensive (Kramatorsk, Slavyansk, Lysychansk, and Sievierodonetsk). It is from Russia. It is drawn from the “American pro-Kremlin and conspiracy theory website” Veterans’s Today, see: https://www.veteranstoday.com/2022/04/20/sitrep-operation-z-april-20-2022/?msclkid=780c64ffc23811eca1c90b30393283a1

Slovyansk (pop. 106,972) to its west is also expected to come under assault.

Kramatorsk (pop. 150,084), located just to the south of Sloviansk. It had its rail station hit on 9 April with over 50 civilians killed.

To the southwest of this fight, the Ukrainians have retaken Maryinka (pop. 9,256) on 19 April, which had been taken by the DPR on 17 March. There is still fighting “in the direction of” (but not at?) Maryinka, Novomykhailivka, and Trudoliubivka, on the route to Zaporizhzhia.

5. Mariupol (pop: 431,859): Day sixty-three of the siege! This is kind of getting epic. The Alamo held out for 13 days. The Germans surrounded in Stalingrad held out for 72 days. They did agree to let a 100 civilians evacuated out of the encircled Azovstal steel mill. I gather there were 500-1,000 civilians in the encirclement.

The defenders appear to still be determinedly holding out in one or two pockets of resistance. There have been unconfirmed reports of phosphorus bombs and munitions being used in Mariupol, including claims made by the Azov Regiment on 27 April. All claims I have heard have only come from the Azov Regiment, which does maintain its own website. Putin has ordered a halt to the assault on the Azovstal steel mill, but it is still being attacked. Ukraine released a video showing the fighting there on 26 April. Not sure how serious these attacks are.

Major Sergiy Volina, CO 36th Marine Brigade

The failure of the Russians to complete the conquest of Mariupol is probably due to a shortage of good infantry. If you are going to do urban operations, you need infantry. Otherwise, you are going to have to shell everything to oblivion, which appears to be what they are doing.  Following video of street fighting in Mariupol was just released by the Azov Regiment (0:58): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q6UOYKQ8JD8

According to the DOD on 18 April there are almost a dozen BTGs in Mariupol. As each BTG has about 200 infantry, then 11 x 200 gives us 2,200 infantry. They have already probably had heavy infantry losses though, so could have less than half of those troops available.

The Russian military are now estimating the 2,000 fighters are holding out around the Azovstal steel mill in the city. The Mariupol city council reports more than 1,000 civilians and Ukarinian troops are in the steel mill complex, which covers 4 square miles and includes a network of tunnels. Added to that they reported on 13 April that 1,026 Ukrainian troops of the 36th Marine Brigade surrendered at the Ilyich Iron and Steel Works.   See: Ukrainians defy deadline to surrender in Mariupol or die. Parts of the 36th Marine Brigade are still engaged there though, with the commander there reporting that had more than 600 wounded fighters and hundreds of civilians on 27 April. See: Mariupol fighters ‘dying underground’ at steel plant, commander says.

The population of the city is down to 100,000 or less. The mayor, who is no longer in the city, is claiming that that more than 10,000 people have been killed. The head of DPR (Donets People’s Republic) has said over 5,000 people have been killed. The city has been decimated, lots of buildings and houses destroyed. Mariupol has no power, gas or water. The vice-mayor of this city said on 3 March that they can hold out for five days. 

If the Russians decided to just pen in the defenders and leave them there, then they have to leave forces, 1,000 or 2,000 or more, to hold them down. So they started with almost a dozen BTGs in Mariupol, probably have to leave a couple behind, have to garrison the area also, and their remaining BTGs have been depleted. So, the forces coming out of Mariupol to rejoin other operations is less than 10 BTGs.

There is a mass grave being reported outside of Mariupol near the town of Manhush. It looks like around 200 graves have been dug. Another mass grave is also being reported on 23 April. So far, they appear to be graves for hundreds of people, vice thousands. A third mass grave is now reported.

6. Crimea & Kherson (pop: 283,649): Kherson is under Russian control. Are the Ukrainians going to make a push to take back Kherson? There does appear to be a Russian push near Oleksandriivka (pop. 5,095), on the route towards Mykolaiv.

It looks like some fighting is developing to the NE of Kherson, on the route towards Kryvyi Rih and Nikopol. Ukraine is claiming an attack on an ammunition depot at Russian-held Velyka Oleksandrivka. My suspicion is that Ukraine is going to launch an operation to try to reclaim Kherson and Kherson Province.

 

Weather: Kharkov at 3 PM: 67 degrees (19 Celsius) and partly cloudy. Low tonight 45 degrees (7 Celsius). No rain forecasted for next week except for Wednesday (tomorrow) and next Monday. Otherwise, is it partly cloudy or sunny all week with the daily temperatures in the 60s. Kind of getting to be perfect campaign weather. Depends on how fast the ground dries. Rain stopped last Sunday, so not sure how long it takes before the ground is dry enough for operations. I am assuming that major operations can begin any day now.

Ukrainian Army Build-up: Not sure how large the army now is (assume over 200,000). There is a Ukrainian Territorial Defense Force of 100,000 to 200,000. Wikipedia reports 209,000 in their armed forces and 102,000 paramilitary. There are some foreign volunteers (including two Chechen battalions who have been there all along and a Georgian unit). I have yet to any statistics as to how many other foreign volunteers have been deployed, just individual stories.

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 (or 1,400 since February according to a more recent source). The U.S. has promised an additional 9,000 AT missiles and 800 Stinger AA missiles (see below for more details). Czech Republic is providing them with “dozens” of T-72 tanks and BMP-1s. I gather other members of NATO are going to follow shortly. As of 1 Jan 2019, the Czech Army had 86 T-72M1, 30 T-72M4CZ, 145 BVP-1 (BMP-1 variant) and 185 BVP-2 (BMP-1 variant). They had no other tanks in their inventory, so were certainly due for an upgrade.

Slovakia has now donated S-300 air defense missiles to Ukraine. According to Wikipedia, Slovakia had only one battery with up to 45 missiles. In exchange, the U.S. is deploying some Patriots to Slovakia (not that it is under attack). At the start of the war Ukraine had about 100 batteries of S-300s with as many as 300 launchers. They have lost at least 21 launchers according to video evidence. NATO members Bulgaria (4 launchers) and Greece (32 launchers, 175 missiles) also have S-300s.

The U.S. Congress just approved another aid package for Ukraine, this one for $800 million. It includes 18 155mm Howitzers, 11 Mi-17 helicopters, 300 Switchblade drones (in addition to the 100 already committed in Ukraine), 200 M-113 APCs, more Javelin AT missiles, and Claymore directed mines. On March 16 the White House approved 800 Stingers (mentioned above), 2,000 Javelins, 6,000 AT4 AT launchers, 1,000 M-72 LAW, 100 unnamed drones, etc. On 6 April the U.S. announced it was providing $100 worth of Javelins and 100 Switchblade drones. It appears that the U.S. provided 18 155mm Howitzers with their 40,000 rounds are arriving in Eastern Europe ((guessing Poland) and that training of Ukrainian troops with the weapons starts in a few days.

The European Union has also provided another 500 million euros of aid. Total aid provided by the EU since the war began is 1.5 billion euros.

It appears that the United States has provided Ukraine with the parts to rebuild 20 Mig-29s from a purchase of 21 Migs that we made from Moldova in 1997 to prevent their procurement at the time by Iran. They were sitting around unused.

President’s Biden speech on 21 April promised another $800 million in military aid to Ukraine, includes 72 additional 155mm howitzers, 144,000 artillery rounds, and 121 Phoenix Ghost tactical drones. Apparently 54 (9 batteries?) of the 90 howitzers we have approved have already been sent to Eastern Europe and the first 50 Ukrainians have completed training on them. Another 100 Ukrainian are now undergoing training. There is a video of a M777 in action in Ukraine.

Biden stated that Ukraine has a 10-to-1 ratio of anti-tank missiles to Russian tanks. It is reported that the U.S. has provided over 5,500 Javelin AT missiles since the war began. The U.S. is also promising $500 million more in economic assistance in addition to the $1 billion already provided.

NATO member Canada is delivering four M777 towed 155mm Howitzers to Ukraine. UK is making noise about providing artillery to Ukraine (104 towed light guns). UK has already provided Ukraine with 5,361 NLAW AT missiles, 200 Javelins and lots of other material. Some other nations are rumored to be providing artillery also. Poland confirms it has provided T-72s to Ukraine. Don’t know how many but Poland has 318 upgraded T-72M1s in their inventory. It was previously reported that Poland had provided 100 T-72s with improved IR sights to Ukraine and also some BWP-1 IFVs. They are being replaced by UK provided Challenger 2 tanks. They also signed a deal earlier this month to buy 250 M1A2 Abrams SEPv3 tanks from the U.S. It looks like the deal to provide Ukraine with Polish Mig-29s is off.

Germany as of 26 April has apparently now agreed to provide heavy weapons to Ukraine. This is a significant change in policy.  It is apparently 50 “Gepard” AA armored vehicles (this guy: Flakpanzer Gepard) This is not earthshaking, but it is progress in the face of a reluctant Germany. German has now promised to provide 7 PzH 2000 155mm self-propelled howitzers to Ukraine. It was reported to be against the advice of the defense ministry, who apparently agued that only 40 of their 119 PzH howitzers were operational. On the other hand, if Russia is not the potential threat, then what potential threat are they saving the SP artillery for? The Dutch are already providing (as of mid-April) five of these German built weapons to Ukraine and the Ukrainian Army is training on them in Germany.

Australia, not a NATO member, has apparently promised to provide six M777 155mm towed Howitzers to Ukraine along with Bushmaster wheeled APCs and other assistance. Distance from Kiev to Canberra is 9,255.95 miles.

It turns out that Poland has provided Ukraine with at least 240 tanks since the war began according to the Wall Street Journal quoting Polish officials. It gather they were mostly or all T-72s. This has been going on for weeks. This is really kind of significant.

Russian Army Build-up:  I have yet to see many reports of Russia expanding its army or calling up more reserves and conscripts. Their biannual call-up starts on 1 April, and Putin just signed a decree ordering up 134,500 new conscripts into the army. See the comments in the Day 35 for a discussion on the significance of this. We are now in the tenth week of the war. Are they going to expand their army as Ukraine is clearly expanding theirs, or are they expecting that this war will end shortly? It looks like the Russian Army is adding a couple of thousand volunteers. The U.S. DOD told reporters on 8 April that the Russia could be looking to recruit as many as 60,000 soldiers to join the fight. I don’t know what that really means. Who? From where? What will be their training? How long will it take?

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 (up to 190,000). Donetsk PR is estimated at 20,000 and Lugansk at 14,000. Russia may be able to add more forces 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 14,900 since the war began. See: OVD-info. At least 800 people have been detained in Belarus. There have been only limited protests in the last few weeks.

Exchange rate: The ruble is at 67.48 to a dollar as of 8:53 AM EST. This is “better” than it was before the war began. This is mystifying in light of all the other economic news coming out on Russia (see below). The Russian stock market (Moscow exchange) remains closed except for state bonds. As a result of the lower ruble, prices in grocery stores, etc., have returned back to normal. A detailed demonstration of this is provided in this video by Svetlana of Russia (29:36): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HK_BKWTaWoU. There gas prices are lower there then here (see 22:15 in the video). Youtube is still up in Russia, although that may not be for long.

Price of oil (Brent crude): $106.72 as of 8:53 AM EST. Several years ago, if the price of oil dropped below $80, the Russian budget would go into the red.

Note that Russia says it received $3.6 million less (302 billion rubles) than it forecast from March old and gas sales. Russia forecasted energy revenue of 790 billion rubles ($9.4 billion) but received around 488 billion rubles., a drop of 38%. The last report I saw, 52% of the Russian government revenue comes from oil (even though it makes up only 7% of their economy). The current Wikipedia article on the Russian economy says that roughly 40% of Russian federal budget comes from the oil and gas sector.

It has been estimated by the World Bank that Ukraine’s economy will shrink by an estimated 45.1% this year (which is a surprising precise estimate in the middle of a war). 

The Russian Ministry of Economy expects 8.8% contraction in 2022. This is a large contraction than anything experienced by the U.S. since the 1930s. Russian estimates of inflation for the next year have ranged from 12.4 percent to as high as 20.7% for the 2022/2023 fiscal year. An independent Western estimate (Capital Economics) project a decline in GDP of 12 percent this year and inflation at 23%. Other Western estimates say GDP will decline by 8.5% (IMF), 10% (European Bank) or 11% (World Bank). Russian inflation rate is currently at 17.62%.

The value of the ruble seems to have stabilized for the last two weeks at around 82 per dollar and oil prices at around $100-110. Lower oil prices do undercut the Russian government budget. To further lower the oil prices probably requires the corporation of Saudi Arabia and OPEC. Right now, they are steering a neutral course between the U.S. and Russia, which is kind of questionable on their part.

Casualties: Ukraine admitted on 29 April that they have suffered “serious losses” in battles. We take that claim at face value. They also claim that Russian losses are “colossal.” That claim has not been confirmed.

The UN is reporting on 2 May at least 3,153 civilians confirmed dead in the war, 94 are in territory controlled by Russian separatists. 1,638 of the deaths are in the regions of Donetsk and Luhansk. Ukraine is claiming more than 10,000 civilians killed in Mariupol alone. Zelensky (President of Ukraine) is reporting on 12 March that around 1,300 Ukrainian soldiers have been killed. Russia claimed by 2 March to have captured 572 soldiers (which is entirely believable). U.S. officials are saying (March 9) that between 2,000 to 4,000 Ukrainian troops have been killed. Zelensky told CNN on 15 April that Ukrainian Army had lost between 2,500-3,000 troops since the fighting has begun and about 10,000 have been wounded (wounded-to-killed ratio of 4.00- or 3.33-to-1). This is the first update on Ukrainian Army losses since 12 March.

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 Russian Army stated on March 25 that 1,351 soldiers have been killed and 3,825 wounded. This is a 2.83-to-1 wounded-to-killed ratio, which is still pretty low, but at least is more believable than some other estimates. The Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) is reporting as of 28 April that they had 1,523 soldiers killed and 6,167 wounded (4.05-to-1 wounded-to-killed ratio). Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR) is reported as of 5 April to have had 500-600 killed. BBC Russian Service as of 5 April has counted 1,083 confirmed killed, of which 217 are officers. This includes 10 colonels, 20 lieutenant colonels and 31 majors. This is certainly an undercount. 

The Kremlin spokesperson Peskov is now saying “We have significant losses of troops. It’s a huge tragedy for us.” Not sure how to convert “significant losses” into a numerical value. There is a recent report (26 April, Moscow Times) of 1,744 Russians killed tallied from the website Mediazona, I assume based upon Russia media reports. It includes 317 officers, including two major generals and the deputy commander of the Black Sea Fleet. By its nature this is an incomplete account and the real count has to be higher. The BBC Russian Service, which maintains a similar count, is reporting 1,899 killed as of 29 April.

The Ukrainians are as of 20 March to hold 562 Russian soldiers as prisoners, with 10 previously released in prisoner exchanged for 5 Ukrainian soldiers and the Mayor of Melitopol. Subsequent exchanges have released 96 Russian soldiers and 11 Russian civilians, in exchange for 96 Ukrainian soldiers and 19 Ukrainian civilian sailors. Prisoner exchanges from 9, 14, 19 and 21 April released 104 Ukrainian soldiers and officers and 47 civilians. The number of Russians released in these exchanges has not been provided, but the exchanges are probably one-for-one. The prisoner exchange on 15 April released 5 Ukrainian soldiers for four Russian soldiers. Total released is now 210 Ukrainian soldiers and 67 civilians.

U.S. officials are claiming figures between 3,000 to 10,000 Russian soldiers killed (March 18). In the past they have claimed 3,000 captured. NATO is claiming 7,000 to 15,000 killed (March 23). There was a report briefly released last month of 9,861 Russians killed and 16,153 wounded (1.64-to-1 wounded-to-killed ratio). I seriously question that report (see my posts on the subject of 22 and 24 March).

A post was made 21 April to a Russian news site that reported “irretrievable losses” in Ukraine were 13,414 soldiers, of which more than 7,000 were missing. As “irretrievable losses” means killed, possibly died of wounds (DOW) and missing, this would imply that Russian killed is 6,414 or less. It was quickly deleted, and the news site claimed it was hacked. Some media has reported the post as over 13,000 killed and over 7,000 missing, but “irretrievable losses” usually includes missing. The post also stated that the cruiser Moskva had 116 killed and more than 100 missing. A Russian news agency (RIA) quoting the Russian defense ministry today said that 1 person was killed and 27 were missing. The claim of 7,000 Russian soldiers missing is hard to match with Ukrainian reports of hundreds captured. During our capture rate studies (see: http://www.dupuyinstitute.org/tdipub3.htm) it appeared that during the German offensive in July 1943 to the south of Kursk, that around 75% of the Russians reported missing were captured by the Germans. I am assuming that if Russia has 7,000 missing, then Ukraine has thousands of prisoners. That does not appear to be the case. 

A total of eight named Russian generals have been reported as killed. The reported death of Lt. Gen. Yakov Rezanstev of the 49th Combined Arms Army (age 49) on 25 March but this has still not been confirmed over a month after the claimed event. The Ukrainians claimed two more Russian generals killed this last week, but no names were provided, and this has not been confirmed.Another general was claimed killed on 29 April, Major General Andrei Simonov (age 55), by an artillery strike on the command post of the Russian 2nd Army. This has also not been confirmed, but as he is listed by name, I did add him to the body count. The head of the Russian armed forces, Valery Gerasimov (age 66), was apparently missed in a strike on a headquarters on 1 May near Izium. None of this has been confirmed. Ukrainian “sources” estimate that around 20 major generals have been deployed to the Ukrainian front. 

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). The U.S. lost six generals killed in action in Vietnam:  Last US general killed in combat was in Vietnam in 1970

One American, a 22-year-old by the name of Willy Joseph Cancel, has been reported killed on 25 April fighting for Ukraine. A former U.S. Marine, he was working for a “private military contracting company” and was being paid. He flew to Poland on 12 March and crossed over to Ukraine on 13 March. Two Americans, Manus McCaffrey and Paul Gray, were reported wounded by artillery fire a couple of days ago while fighting for Ukraine in Orikhiv, SE of Zaporizhzhia. The UK has also confirmed that one of their citizens were killed in Ukraine this week and another is missing. Two British soldiers have been captured in Mariupol, Shau Pinner, 48 and Aiden Aslin, 28. Might be a good time to re-read Hemingway’s For Whom the Bell Tolls.

One U.S. civilian have also been killed during the war: James Whitney Hill on March 17 in Chernigov by artillery.

Russian Equipment Losses: @oryxspioenko is reporting the following Russian losses based upon his analysis of pictures and videos. Russian equipment losses are here: https://www.oryxspioenkop.com/2022/02/attack-on-europe-documenting-equipment.html

                   0900, 30 March     0800, 13 April    0900, 21 April

Tanks:            336                         485                    517 

AFVs:             239                         258                    312                    

IFVs:               320                         516                    556

APCs:               79                           95                      99

Jet aircraft:      15                           18                      21

Helicopters:     32                           30                      33

 

The Ukranian Ministry of Defense is claiming as of 29 March they have destroyed 597 tanks, 1,710 armored personnel vehicles, 127 aircraft and 129 helicopters. They also claim 17,200 Russian soldiers killed. They claimed as of 13 April they have destroyed 739 tanks, 1,964 armored personnel vehicles, 158 aircraft and 143 helicopters. They also claim 19,800 Russian soldiers killed. These figures look to be inflated, especially the aircraft and helicopter claims. We assume personnel claims are also inflated.

 

Ukrainian Equipment Losses: @oryxspioenko now has a separate listing for Ukrainian losses based upon his analysis of pictures and videos. It is here: https://www.oryxspioenkop.com/2022/02/attack-on-europe-documenting-ukrainian.html?msclkid=a374718dc17511ecb7fe354e35b82b28

                 0900, 30 March       0800, 13 April     0900. 21 April

Tanks:           79                               107                    130

AFVs:            62                                 73                      79

IFVs:              60                                 82                      88

APCs:            29                                 39                      51

Jet aircraft:   10                                 13                      14

Helicopters:    1                                   3                        5

 

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 more than 12,000 people have died in this conflict (1,351 (Russian Army) + at least 2,000 more (Russian Army) + 3,000 (Ukrainian Army) + 3,153 (Civilians) + 1,523 (DPR) + 600 (LPR) = 11,627). It is probably in excess of 15,000 total deaths depending on Russian military deaths and the real count of civilian losses. The number of deaths of Mariupol are unverified and unknown.

If Ukrainian military deaths are between 2,500 and 3,000, then I assume Russian military deaths are at least as many. Ukraine is claiming as of 19 April that 20,800 Russian and DPR soldiers have been killed, Russians are claiming as of 16 April that 23,367 Ukrainian soldiers have been killed. Are both sets of figures similarly inflated?

The Russian claims are also very nebulous with lots of people hanging onto a figure of 10,000 or 15,000 or 20,000 killed. There are reasons to doubt these high claims. It is clear the Russian military deaths are 3,000 killed or higher. 

Both sides have claimed a similar number of troops captured (572 Ukrainians captured by 2 March vs 572 Russians captured by 20 March).

There are people doing a more detailed job of tracking losses on Twitter, including @RALee85 and @Oryxspioenkop and @caucasuswar, none of whom are known to me. One of them appears to have accepted the claims of at least 10,000 Russian soldiers killed. 

Air Power: The Pentagon on 12 March is reporting that Russia is flying about 200 sorties a day. The Ukrainian air force has 56 operational jets flying 5 to 10 hours a day. March 22 it was reported by the U.S. that Russia flew more than 300 sorties into Ukraine. March 24 it was reported that more than 250 Russian sorties were flown, mostly around Kiev and Kharkov.

A pilot some claimed was the “Ghost of Kiev” died on 13 March piloting a Mig-29. He was Major Stepan Tarabalka, age 29. The Ukrainians claim as of 30 April 190 Russian aircraft destroyed, and the “Ghost of Kiev” is credited with 40 kills. The videos evidence has confirmed as of today 23 Russian jets destroyed. 

Somewhat relevant (23 x 8 = 184): 

Soviet versus German kill claims at Kursk | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org)

And don’t have a publication date yet, but the publisher has the manuscript:

Aces at Kursk – Summation | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org)

Missile Defense: According to Zelenskyy the missile barrage near Lvov on 12 March consisted of 30 missiles, 8 missiles that landed and 22 missiles that were intercepted and shot down. On the morning of 16 April in the Lvov region, Ukraine claimed it downed four cruise missiles fired by Su-35s operating from Belarus. Zelensky claimed on 26 April that Russians have fired more than 1,100 missiles at Ukraine. The U.S. DOD claimed on 29 April that more than 1,950 missiles have been fired at Ukraine since the start of the war and they are currently firing about 50 a day.

End of the War: Putin has declared that the peace talks are at a “dead end.” Not sure if that is a negotiating tactic and a new determination to drag a victory out of an otherwise not particularly successful war. I lean towards to the latter. 

Now, I did not expect any serious progress on negotiations until after they took Mariupol. It is still hanging on. On the other hand, it does look like they intend to take and hold onto all of Donetsk and Lugansk provinces, and possibly all of Kherson province and four-fifths of Zaporizhzhia province. The capital Zaporizhzhia (pop. 722,713) may not be on their list of areas to take. So, four out of Ukraine’s 24 provinces and Crimea.

Populations of partly or completely occupied areas (2019 estimates):

Donetsk: 4,165,901

Lugansk: 2,151,833

Crimea: 2,033,700 (2001 census)

Zaporizhzhia: 1,705,836

Kherson: 1,037,640

Sevastopol: 509,992 (2021 estimate)

 

Population of Ukraine (excluding Crimea), 2022 estimate: 41,167,336

What they are willing to later negotiate away to achieve peace or a ceasefire is unknown. When they are ready to return to talks is unknown. This is beginning to look like an extended war.

Atrocities: The stories coming out of Bucha are pretty appalling. At least seven civilians have been reported killed in incidents not related to combat, 18 civilians were found dead in a basement, and another 20 civilians were found lying dead in the street, two with hands bound. The mayor of Bucha says they were executed. There are other claims scattered about Ukraine. How extensive and widespread this is still not certain, but this appears to be well beyond what one would expect from “collateral damage” from combat, and some appears to be deliberate. It does indicate, as a minimum, a lack of military discipline in some Russian units. This story is continually being updated right now. The latest figure (12 April) is that 403 civilians were killed in Bucha. The deputy mayor of Bucha says that 50 of the victims have been confirmed as extrajudicially executed. Additional reports from Ukraine have put the body count of civilians found in the towns and villages surround Kiev at 1,222. This has not been independently confirmed. Ukraine has identified ten Russian soldiers wanted for “pre-mediated murder” in Bucha. They are all enlisted from the 64th Guards Motor Rifle Brigade. These are the first charges unveiled of over 8,000 criminal investigations. The U.S. is claiming it has “credible information” of Russians killing Ukrainians in the vicinity of Donetsk who were trying to surrender.

There are also various accusations against the Russian Army Chechen unit operating around Bucha: Brutal Sect of Putin’s Army Accused of Murdering Their Own Comrades.

There is also a video out there of Ukrainian soldiers shooting several Russian prisoners in their legs. There is a second video showing Ukrainian troops executing what appears to be four Russian prisoners seven miles SW of Bucha. See: https://news.yahoo.com/video-appears-show-ukrainian-soldiers-192219323.html. More detailed description from BBC: https://www.bbc.com/news/61025388. It is on youtube, if you want to look it up. I believe they are members of the Georgian Legion, a group of Georgian volunteers fighting for Ukraine.

There are also some retribution killings going on: Ukrainian Chief Intelligence Directorate: another traitor of Ukraine found shot.

Other Issues: Azerbaijani troops have occupied an area in Nagorno-Karabakh that they are claiming is theirs. The Russian peacekeeping troops there have not expelled them. Widespread protests in Armenia this weekend over Nagorno-Karabakh followed by 180 detentions.

Finland and Sweden are seriously discussing joining NATO later this year. They are rumored to be submitting their applications together by 22 May. I assume NATO will welcome them with open arms.

Ukraine may be on the fast track to join the European Union (which was the issue that started all the turmoil in 2013). EU member Austria has objected. All EU members must unanimously agree for a country’s membership negotiations to begin.

The Map: The attached map is from Wikipedia. It is dated 3 May. Maryinka is not shown on this map. The map has been updated to show on 18 April a Ukrainian offensive at Pechenihy (pop. 5,058) to the SE of Kharkov and the Russian taking of Kreminna to NW of Sievierodonetsk. It appears that parts of the front line trace has been updated around Izium, Kreminnia and Popasna, but they are not dated. They are showing Popasna in Russian control, which does not match with the reports I have seen which clearly reports Popasna in Ukrainian hands and being shelled. The map appears to have been updated to show the Russians pushing south of of Izium onto Barvinkove and pushing southwest from Kreminna towards Lyman. There appears to be no updates to the map in the last three days.

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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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