Some minor advances, but it is mostly clean up, vice any new operations. To date, neither side has really achieved what they were hoping. The real issue now is whether the support for this war will be maintained by Ukraine’s allies or the Russian populace as it appears this war is heading to a third year.
Ukraine did take Andriivka south of Bakhmut. Ukraine is still advancing towards Verbove, supposedly now through the first defensive line. Ukraine still has another 30 to 60 days to do something, but right now not much is going on. So, we could be in for an “October surprise” but I doubt it.
Ukraine appears to have penetrated the first line in the area south of Orikhiv and is looking to slowly expand that area under control. While this is progress, it is not much for an offensive that has now gone for more than three months. The Russians have a layered defense consisting of three lines. Some people are claiming that 60 percent labor and resources were spent on the first line and only 20 percent on the next two. I have not checked this.
Still, there is some sense that the Russian defenses are stretched. As U.S. General Milley described it on 16 August (via WP): “The Russians are in pretty rough shape. So they’ve suffered huge amount of casualties. Their morale is not great. Their leadership is questionable and spotty….Logistics is not great.” This assessment does appear to have some validity.
Discussions on Prigozhin and Wagner, the grain deal, prisoner exchanges, reinforcements, etc. are in the Day 552 post: The Russo-Ukrainian War – Day 552 | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org).
I will put any changes/updates since my last post in italics. A link to a blow up of the map is here: Wikipedia map. It is dated 22 September.
Russia currently occupies five cities since that start of the invasion: Lysychansk (pop. 95,031), Severodonetsk (pop. 101,135), Mariupol (pop. 431,859), Berdyansk (pop. 107,928) and Melitopol (pop. 150,768). Kherson (pop. 283,649) was retaken by Ukraine on 11 November 2022.
Weather: Kharkiv at 5 PM: It is 77 degrees (25 Celsius) and sunny. No rain forecasted for the next ten days.
Kherson is 79 degrees (26 Celsius) and partly cloudy. No rain forecasted for the next ten days.
Ukrainian Army Build-up: It is now claimed that the M-1s will be arriving in September and this still appears to be the case. At least 10 have been spotted on trains in Eastern Europe and are expected to arrive in Ukraine in mid-September. Also, the first 10 of a 100 Leopard Is (older, less armored version of the tank) have arrived in Ukraine.
It is claimed that the U.S. and its allies have now trained 63,000 Ukrainian troops. The current Ukrainian armed forces are certainly in excess of 300,000, so over 80% of their troops have been trained by them. It is reported that some of the troops are learning how to use some equipment from YouTube videos.
Since the start of this offensive three months ago, Ukraine has lost at least 5 of its 71 Leopard IIs, with at least 10 out for repairs. They lost their first Challenger II yesterday. These are not heavy armor losses, which are often lost at a much higher rate than personnel losses during offensive operations (see Dupuy: Attrition).
Russian Army Build-up: Nothing new to report. Russian morale is suspect, with an officer flying a Mi-8 defecting last month. In his interview, he claimed that his family was smuggled out of Russia by Ukrainian operatives before he defected.
The U.S. is now saying there are 200,000 Russian troops in Ukraine. The Ukrainian defense intel guys last week said it is over 420,000. That is kind of the lower and upper limits of my guesses. So, both figures look good, but obviously at least one is wrong.
Seen some convoluted math on twitter that calculated Russian dead, Russian recruitment and Russian strength. The only way they could get that to work was to use a wounded-to-killed ratio of 2.4-to-1. That is lower ratio than what the Soviet Union had in World War II (Battle of Kursk figures, 1943), before they had penicillin. It looks like they had to assume the lower wounded-to-kill figure to make the math work. They probably need rework their estimates. I seriously doubt they have any hard evidence to justify such a low wounded-to-killed ratio.
Opposing forces: Complete write-up is available in this post: The Russo-Ukrainian War – Day 471 | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org).
Economics and the Home Fronts: The complete write-up is available in this post: The Russo-Ukrainian War – Day 380 | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org). Price of oil (Brent Crude) has increased to 93.96 as of 10:26 AM EST. Ruble is still low at 96.15 to the dollar.
Casualties: The last extended casualty discussion was in the Day 560 post here: The Russo-Ukrainian War – Day 560 | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org). This is a reduced posting.
We do have reported U.S. intel reports that claim that Russian casualties are up to 120,000 killed and Ukraine casualties are close to 70,000 killed. For various reasons, I really don’t buy into these higher figures. This is discussed here: The New York Times casualty reports | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org)
The UN is reporting as of 10 September at least 9,614 civilians confirmed dead in the war. Updated chart from the UN provided the following chart showing civilian losses by month through August.
More than 60,000 people have died in this conflict: 32,656 or more (Russian Army – Mediazona count as of 22 September) + 16,000 or more (Ukrainian Army – old U.S. DOD estimate) + 9,614 (Civilians) + 4,176 (DPR in 2022) + 600 (LPR April 2022) = 62,145. It may be in excess of 120,000 total deaths depending on Ukrainian and Russian military deaths and the real count of civilian losses. Suspect Russian killed is at least 60,000 and Ukrainian military deaths are at least 45,000.
The head of Chechen, Ramzan Kadyrov, age 46, is ill and reported to be in a comma. A recent video shows him in a hospital but conscious and talking: Ramzan Kadyrov Appears in Hospital Video Amid Health Speculation | Watch (msn.com).There were reports six months ago over his health: Top Putin ally Ramzan Kadyrov ‘seriously ill from suspected poisoning’ (msn.com). I gather there are no longer any Chechen troops on the front line.
Ammo: Complete write-up is available in this post: The Russo-Ukrainian War – Day 471 | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org).
The U.S. is reporting that it is now producing 24,000 155mm shells a month. This is up from 14,000 before the war.
Air Power: Previous discussion of air power is in the Day 443 post: The Russo-Ukrainian War – Day 443 | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org). Also see Day 560 post for additional material: The Russo-Ukrainian War – Day 560 | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org).
Ukrainians will began training on F-16 this month according to Zelenskyy. I gather this will not be a quick process, as there are a limited number of Ukrainian pilots available with a good command of English. The U.S. did confirm this week (on 18 August) that we will allow third parties to provide Ukraine with F-16s. This includes 42 from Netherlands, their entire inventory. Russian indiscriminate use of SAMs continues to haunt them. It also includes 19 from Denmark. Norway will also be providing some F-16s.
The U.S. will start training Ukrainians on F-16 in Arizona come October. It will probably be a while before Ukraine has the planes. The Dutch are now saying 6 to 8 months. Still, these 61+ F-16s will give Ukraine some capability to contest the air space.
Meanwhile, the Ukrainian drone campaign against Russia has continued. On 29 August, drones attack Pskov airport near Estonia. According to Russians 4 IL-76 transport aircraft were damaged. According to photographic evidence, at least two were destroyed.
Naval War: Ukraine launched UK Storm Shadow cruise missiles and sea drones at Sevastopol yesterday (13 September). Some were intercepted but it appears that the Russian 4,012-long-ton (full load) landing ship Minsk and a kilo-class attack submarine B-237 (3,040 tons) were damaged. It appears that Ukraine is trying to make Crimea untenable. This does not regain the peninsula but may have a negotiating advantage.
The Ukrainians also attacked two Project 22160 patrol ship (1300-1700 tons) in the southwestern part of Black Sea on 14 September.
Ukraine also attacked and may have hit the Bora-class guided missile corvette (1,050 tonnes) Samum using one of their “sea baby” drones. This is one of the largest air cushion or surface effect ships (SES) (i.e. a sidewall hovercraft) ships in existence. It is also a catamaran.
They also hit the Russian naval headquarters in Sevastopol yesterday (21 September).
Missile Defense: Discussion of previous missiles attack is in the Day 443 post: The Russo-Ukrainian War – Day 443 | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org). It was updated in this post: The Russo-Ukrainian War – Day 471 | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org).
End of the War: Looks like this war will be continuing onto until at least fall of 2023. Complete write-up of this section is available in this post: The Russo-Ukrainian War – Day 380 | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org).
Atrocities: Complete write-up is available in this post: The Russo-Ukrainian War – Day 355 | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org). Updates are provided in this post: The Russo-Ukrainian War – Day 471 | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org).
Ukrainian reforms: Complete write-up is available in this post: The Russo-Ukrainian War – Day 355 | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org).
The attempts to clean up corruption and reform the government has gotten serious. The Ukranian defense minister, Reznikov, has finally been replaced as of 3 September. This looked like something that had to happen. Two weeks ago Zelenskyy removed all the officers in charge of recruiting over corruption issues. He has also conducted a review of the military medical commissions. Zelensky is also pushing a bill in the Rada (their parliament) to define corruption during wartime as treason. They have also detained a prominent Ukrainian oligarch (Forbes estimates that he is worth $1 billion) who owns the TV station that aired Zelenskyy’s old show “Servant of the People.” He is being investigated for fraud and money laundering.
The new proposed defense minister is Rustem Umierov, who is Muslim. He is from a Crimean Tatar family.
The Ukrainians are in discussion whether to hold elections next March. I think they absolutely must do so, especially in light of the lack of support for Ukraine by significant elements of the U.S. Republican Party. See: Presidential Elections – 2024 | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org).
U.S. Support for Ukraine: Write-up on U.S. support for Ukraine is in the Day 443 post here: The Russo-Ukrainian War – Day 443 | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org). It is going to be a long campaign season until November 2024, so certainly we will revisit this issue at some point. The total amount of support committed by the U.S. to Ukraine is $133 Billion.
The U.S. resolved its “debt crisis” with the debt limit being suspended until 2025. Defense spending is capped at $886 billion, or 3.5% increase over the previous year. This matches the current administrations budget request. Spending on defense is limited to a 1% growth in 2025, or up to $895 billion. We will see if things get balled up with a government shut down on 1 October.
A few dates to keep in mind for the American political campaigns: 1) the second Republican primary debate is scheduled for 27 September, 2) the third debate is scheduled sometime in early November, 3) the tentative start date for the trail in Fulton County Georgia is October 23 at the request of two of the defendants. The other 17 defendants, including Donald Trump, will be tried later, date not yet not declared, 4) the Iowa caucuses will be on 15 January 2024, 5) the Nevada primary will be on 6 February 2024, 6) the New Hampshire primary is scheduled for 13 February 2024, 7) 24 February is SC primary, then MI, 8) The date for the DOJ Special Council trail for charges related to the 6 January incidents in now scheduled for 4 March, 9) on 5 March 14 states will hold their primaries and between 9 – 23 March another 15 states/territories will hold their primaries. The Republican nominee could be decided by then, 10) 25 March is the trail date for Donald Trump’s New York Stormy Daniel’s related case, 11) 20 May is the trial date for Donald Trump’s classified documents case, 12) last Republican primary is 4 June 2024. I actually do think this is war related news as the currently the three leading Republican presidential candidates do not support Ukraine.
Former VP and Republican presidential candidate Mike Pence was in Ukraine in July. He fully supports the war effort. On 13 July, the House took a vote on cutting off aid to Ukraine. The vote was 358-70 rejecting the amendment. All 70 opposed votes were Republican. See: Here are the 70 House Republicans who voted to cut off all US military aid to Ukraine (msn.com). There are 222 Republicans in the house, so this is a minority opinion in the party supported maybe a third of Republicans in the house. It is also the opinion that appears to be held by their two presidential nomination front runners.
Also, see the Day 443 posts for previous reports on the EU, NATO, Georgia and Nagorno-Karabakh. On 20 May, Lavrov’s daughter (Lavrov is the foreign minister of Russia) attended a wedding in Georgia. There were protests by the Georgians, with her car egged. She was forced to leave because of the public reaction.
European Support for Ukraine: A pro-Russian candidate and the Smer party is leading in the parliamentary elections for Slovakia that are scheduled for 30 September. Their leader has promised to not send a single bullet to Ukraine. See: Opinion polling for the 2023 Slovak parliamentary election – Wikipedia.
Ukraine is gotten into an argument with some of its eastern European allies over exportation of cheaper grain. Poland is now threatening to cut off military aide to Ukraine. They are also threatening to send all the Ukrainian migrants home.
Belarus: It has been reported by Ukraine that Russia has completely withdrawn their ground forces from Belarus. Nuclear weapons are discussed in the Day 560 post: The Russo-Ukrainian War – Day 560 | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org)
NATO: As of 4 April, Finland is a member of NATO. Sweden is still awaiting approval from Hungary and Turkey. As of 10 July, it looks like Erdogan of Turkey has finally agreed to let Sweden into NATO. Hungary is not expected to block this. Erdogan, age 69, won the election on 28 May with 52% of the vote. Voter turn-out was 84%. Next election is in five years. See Day 443 for more info. Meanwhile, the head of NATO is supporting renewal of talks about Turkey joining the EU.
Nagorno-Karabakh: This argument has reared its ugly head again. Last we left it, Azerbaijan was threatening Karabakh, but was restrained by Russian peacekeepers (2,000 of them), that were supporting Armenian Karabakh, with some unease by the pro-Western Armenian government. Well, it was now blown up again, with Azerbaijan attacking Armenian Karabakh positions around the “Lachin Corridor.” There were videos yesterday showing Azerbaijan forces just outside of the capital of Karabakh, the town on Khankendi (pop. 75,000). The deputy commander of the Russian peacekeeping force has been killed, as were at least four other officers.
Starting on 19 September, large protests (thousands) started in the Armenian capital of Yerevan over the lack of support for Karabakh. This includes shouted obscenities against Putin, just to show where their sympathies lie. Protests were continuing as of the night of 21 September. This is tricky situation, as it appears Azerbaijan has the upper hand militarily, the Russian peacekeeping force is not robust enough to keep the peace, and the western-leaning Armenian government could be overthrown by even more western-leaning (or at least more anti-Putin) protesters. This is probably not going to end well.
Sections on Kazakhstan, European Support, Iran and Miscellaneous were last reported in the blog post for day 408 here: The Russo-Ukrainian War – Day 408 | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org). They have been removed from this post.