Ukraine continues incremental advances. The primary area they advanced is to the east of Robotyne towards Verbove. This appears to be expanding the penetration there. Ukraine appears to have penetrated the first line in the area and is looking to slowly expand the area under control. While this is progress, it is not much for an offensive that has now gone for 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.
I have cleaned up this posting, deleting over 4,000 words describing previous operations, Prigozhin and Wagner, the grain deal, prisoner exchanges, reinforcements, etc. They 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 6 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.
Weather: Kharkiv at 4 PM: It is 77 degrees (25 Celsius) and partly cloudy. No rain forecasted for the next ten days.
Kherson is 83 degrees (28 Celsius) and mostly 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.
It is claimed that the U.S. and its allies have now trained 63,000 Ukrainian troops. The current Ukrainian armed forces is 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.
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 89.74 as of 9:15 AM EST. Ruble is back to sliding down, it is now at 97.79 to the dollar.
Casualties: The commander-in-chief of the Ukrainian miliary, Valerii Zaluzhny, on 21 August stated that almost 9,000 Ukrainian military have died in the war. This is a lower estimate than most people have given (although we have leaned towards the lower estimates). Not sure if these figures included militia losses (like Azov Regiment). If Ukraine lost almost 9,000, then hard to believe the Russian losses are that much higher. On 1 December a presidential advisor stated that Ukraine has lost between 10,000 and 13,000 troops killed. On 17 March, the Ukranian Secretary of the National Security and Defence Council argued that total Ukrainian losses are less than 100,000 killed and wounded. As of 24 March 1,509 bodies have been returned to Ukraine.
The U.S. estimate is that Russian casualties are now at 220,000 (killed and wounded). The U.S. estimate provided on 9 November was “well over 100,000.” Did they really loose another 100,000 troops in the last five months? For 18 November BBC/Mediazona reported that 9,001 Russians had been killed based upon media accounts, obituaries, funeral notices, and so forth. Now their count is 18,023 as of 24 March. This is a doubling of their recorded count of people who have died. This is still considerably lower than the Ukrainian claims of 173,360 Russians killed as of 31 March (which would imply 693,440 to 866,800 total casualties, which does not mesh well with the reports of forces deployed). I do have some doubt about this suddenly increase in U.S. claims, see BBC/Mediazona Figures Over Time | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org) and Russian Losses over Time | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org). Needless to say, if I have doubts about the U.S. DOD estimates, then I don’t buy into the Ukrainian claims of Russian casualties, or the similarly high Russian claims of Ukrainian casualties.
The various versions of the briefing books did have Ukrainian and Russian casualty figures. They estimated that Ukrainian losses were 15,500 – 17,500 killed and 124,500 – 131,000 total casualties. This estimate may be a little “light,” but it is certainly within the ball park. They appear to be using a wounded-to-killed ratio of around 7.5-to-1 for this. This is kind of high. These figures may also include missing and captured (at least 6,000 were captured).
The Russian estimates are 35,500 – 43,000 killed and 189,500 – 223,000 total casualties. This may be on the high side. Ukraine is claiming over 180,000 Russians killed, which I think can be dismissed. BBC/Mediazona reports as of 7 April are counting 19,688 Russian killed by name. They appear to be using a wounded-to-killed ratio of around 5-to-1 for this.
Mediazona, through Dr. Olga Ivshina (BBC) @oivshina stated on 25 April that “…if we have 20,000 names we think the real toll may be around 40,000 KIA.” The exchange is here: The Dupuy Institute (TDI) on Twitter: “@oivshina Question: Do you mean that you suspect the actual count of dead is 1.5 times the count on your list, or is it 2.0 times the count on your list?” / Twitter.
These wounded-to-killed ratios open up a lot of questions. 1) why are they different for the Ukrainian vice the Russians, 2) I have been saying it is at least 4-to-1. They are using figures higher than that. What is that based upon?, and 3) some people on the “twittersphere” have criticized me for even using a 4-to-1 ratio and have used lower figures than that. Is it time for them to revise their estimating practices?
John Kirby, the NSC spokesman, said on 1 May that Russia has suffered 100,000 casualties since December, including over 20,000 killed (implying a 4-to-1 wounded-to-killed ratio). Half of the killed are from the Wagner Group.
The previous, more detailed older casualty write-up is available in this post: The Russo-Ukrainian War – Day 394 | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org).
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 30 July at least 9,369 civilians confirmed dead in the war. They are reporting another 143 killed from 1 – 30 July 2023. 18 of these were in territory occupied by the Russian Federation. Updated chart from the UN provided the following chart showing civilian losses by month through June.
More than 60,000 people have died in this conflict: 30,698 or more (Russian Army – Mediazona count as of 24 August) + 16,000 or more (Ukrainian Army – U.S. DOD estimate) + 9,369 (Civilians) + 4,176 (DPR in 2022) + 600 (LPR April 2022) = 60,148. It is probably in excess of 80,000 total deaths depending on Ukrainian and Russian military deaths and the real count of civilian losses. Suspect the BBC/Mediazona count is off (undercounted) by at least 50% and they say it is by a factor of two. The last figure from Ukraine of 13,000 was dated 1 December, so is also now probably off by at least 50%. Mediazona is now reporting that Donetsk and Lugansk losses were in excess of 8,000. If the Russian Army losses are indeed above 50,000 and Ukrainian Army losses are similarly high, then we could be looking at over 100,000 killed in this war. Another recent estimate done by Mediazona, based upon excess deaths, show that by the end of May at least 47,000 Russians have died in the war. This is not out of line with their other estimates. See: A new study finds that 47,000 Russian combatants have died in Ukraine (economist.com) and How many Russians have died in Ukraine? Data show what Moscow hides – Los Angeles Times (latimes.com).
An eighth American has been killed in Ukraine, Nick Maimer, 45, of Boise. He was a former Green Beret who was training Ukrainians. He was hit by artillery sometime in May.
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).
On 13 May, Russia lost 4 aircraft in one day, two Mi-8 helicopters, one Su-34 and one Su-35. This was their highly daily losses since the first month of the war. They were shot down just inside of the Russian territory, in Bryansk province.
On 20 August, a Ukrainian drone strike near Novgorod destroyed at least one Tu-22M3. The attack was probably launched from Russian territory. Russian Air Force was making air strikes against Robotyne on 22 August.
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.
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.
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 October, 3) the tentative start date for the trail in Fulton County Georgia is October 23 at the request of some (but not all) the Defendents, 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.
Belarus: It has been reported by Ukraine that Russia has completely withdrawn their ground forces from Belarus.
Also, Belarus has signed an agreement on 25 May with Russia about basing tactical nuclear weapons there, with some sources claiming they have been deployed there. I still doubt that they will join the war. Belarus has 60,000 troops and now they are trying to recruit another 20,000. This is from a country that the government was almost overthrown two years ago by popular acclaim. Ukraine has an 891-kilometer border (554 miles) with Belarus, so Ukraine must maintain some forces there. Reports are now saying that only about 4,000 Russian troops are in Belarus, and no nuclear forces are there.
On 16 June Putin did announce that tactical nuclear weapons have been deployed to Belarus. One unconfirmed (and unconfirmable) estimate is that it is 10-12 68 KT weapons. On 20 June the head of Ukrainian intelligence said that no nuclear weapons have yet been moved to Belarus. Since then, Lukashenko has said that nukes have been deployed to Belarus. The Russian nuclear weapons are almost certainly not under control of Lukashenko, no matter how much he huffs and puffs.
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.
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.