Ukraine continues incremental advances. They have taken 1) now all of Robotyne, led by the 47th Mechanized Bde, 2) all of Urozhaine and 3) more territory around Bakhmut. None of this is earthshaking, but it shows a continued pattern of 1) Ukraine on the advance, 2) Russia struggling to defend it all, and perhaps, 3) Russia being over-stretched and maybe slowly losing this war. Is at some point, Ukraine going to launch a major attack or just continue just inching forward for months on end?
As U.S. General Milley describes it (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.
It is stated that Ukraine has now broken through the Russian first defense line. This is a layered defense consisting of three lines.
Ukraine continues making incremental gains on the battlefield, especially south of Bakhmut and south of Orikhiv. This includes 1) advancing (a total?) of 1.7 kilometers towards Melitopol (Ukrainian claim on 7/14) and 1.4 kilometers in the Berdiansk direction (Ukrainian claim on 24 July), 2) advancing on both sides of Bakhmut, especially to the south. One Ukrainian paper reported they gained 3 square kilometers of territory last week. This is not earthshaking. 3) taking artillery dominance over and around Bakhmut, and we suspect 4) starting to win the artillery war (see: Is Russia losing the artillery fight? | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org)). There is some suspicion that we will see an actual Ukrainian offensive later in August.
Yevgheni Prigozhin, Dmitri Utkin (co-owner of Wagner) and several senior members of Wagner Group are dead. It appears they were shot down by probably a SAM (or AAM or bomb) deep inside of Russia just to the northwest of Moscow. One wing was blown off the airplane, resulting in a long plunge to the ground. The occupants may have known this. Ten people died. Most likely this was an execution ordered by Putin, but it could have also been independently done 1) by the Russian military, 2) another rogue element of the Russian government, 3) an opposing business partner or 4) could have been an accidental firing. I am not sure that shooting down an aircraft with a SAM has ever been used before as a means of execution. If a SAM was used, this sort of indicates that it was conducted by or coordinated with the military, while this high value target of both leaders of Wagner argues against it being an accident. It does appear that Putin arranged for 1) the Wagner Group to be migrated out of the way to Belarus (and their internet connection has been cut off), 2) detained the Wagner supporters, 3) lulled them into thinking they were safe and free to travel in Russia, 4) then ambushed both Wagner leaders together when they were not expecting it. If so, this was pretty cold and calculating. So much for any rule of law. Russian has “confirmed” that Prigozhin is dead.
Previous discussion of Prigozhin, Russian commanders being killed or fired, the Crimean bridge being hit, are a few other things are in the posting for Day 518: The Russo-Ukrainian War – Day 518 | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org)
On 24 July Ukraine did another attack on Moscow with two drones. They also struck Moscow again on 30 July and on 1 August. No real significant hits or casualties, but repeated drone strikes against the Russian capital does get their attention. An entertaining video from the site of the strike by 1420: Why do they keep attacking Moscow? – YouTube. There were attempted strikes on Moscow on 10 August, with two drones shot down in the area. There have been attempted drone strikes on Moscow for most days this last week, not doing much damage but shutting down all of Moscow’s airports each time they fly. While these tend to be fairly small drone strikes, they are sending a message.
Also, there were over 20 reported attempts in Russia this month to burn conscription centers. This was done all across Russia, not just Moscow and St. Petes. I am guessing this is local (meaning Russian protestors): Russians rise up — over 20 military commissariats targeted with Molotov cocktails in wild 24 hours (yahoo.com).
Spring (now Summer) Offensive: The Ukrainians are doing limited attacks in at least three locales in the south from west to east: 1) south of Orikhiv (at the outskirts of Robotyne, 12 km south). They continued to advance here, now taking the northern part of Robotyne on 10 August. 2) near Huliaipole and 3) near Veyka Novosilka. Staromaiorski (pop. 839 in 2001) was reported taken by Ukraine on 27 July, the Russians claimed to have retaken it on 30 July and Ukrainians clearly had it under control on 31 July. It was reported liberated by the 35th Marine Brigade. This village is six kilometers south of Velyka Novosilka, so it does appear that Ukraine is again making progress in this area. To the south of there, they reported taking all of the village of Urozhaine on 14 August. This was done by 35th and 36th Marine Brigades, in addition to others. The defending units included the Russian special forces Vostok Bn.
They are also attacking around Bakhmut, both to the 4) north and 5) south of it. 6) Ukraine also has a bridgehead across the Dnipro River near Kherson. This sector appears quiet. On the other hand, the Ukrainians have crossed to the northeast of there at Kazachi Laheri and pushed some forces further into Russian positions. It is claimed that this vulnerability in the Russian line was created by them transferring their 7th Airborne Division to reinforce lines in Zaporizhzhia province, leaving this area weakened. Is this a sign that the Russian positions are now being over-stretched? Is Russia being stretched until their lines break? Parts of the 7th Airborne Division are now reported at Robotyne. 7) There has been some action reported around Kreminna. For a while, people were talking about a Russian counteroffensive of over 100,000 from there. I never bothered to repeat this rumor and it now seems to have disappeared. I have been hesitant to repeat all the various reports out there. 8) There does some to be some back-and-forth fighting in the areas to the west of Svatove, 9) Ukraine did report Russian attack in the north part of the line near Krupyansk. They do not appear to be doing much.
It does appear that primary action is now around Bakhmut, of all places. It does appear that Ukraine is still making some progress there. It is defended by Russian airborne troops, among others. Bakhmut may be the first place to fall to a Ukrainian offensive. On (25 July) Ukraine took Andriivka to the south of Bakhmut (the small village of Andriivka just south of Klishchiivka) and had advanced into Klishchiivka (pop. 512 in 2001) as of 23 July. Russia was reported to be counterattacking near Klishchiivka a week later.
Overall, it appears that Ukraine tried a limited one-week offensive during the week of June 5. This was not the Spring offensive that many people were expecting with 12 brigades chopped to the effort. They did get one advancing brigade shot up (47th MBde) and that was pretty much it. The 47th Mechanized Brigade is still conducting operations, as observed in videos. It is near Robotnye. Have also seen videos of 118th MBde doing operations near Robotyne as of 26 July. Also committed to the fighting is the 33rd MBde and the 21st MBde (reported engaged as of 9 August, and probably earlier). Ukraine does appear to again be making slow progress in this area.
The 82nd Air Assault Brigade, with 14 Challenger IIs, 40 Marders and 90 Strykers has apparently now joined the fight. There are videos of Challengers supposedly near the front.
It appears that Ukrainian offensive operations started on Monday, 5 June with a series of serious “shaping operations.” See: So has the Spring Offensive started? | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org). Some are saying the offensive started 4 June.
On 6 June Russia (probably) blew the Kakhovka dam. On 20 June Ukraine’s Interior Ministry reported that 21 people have died. Other people are reporting higher figures. This has temporarily shut down any operations in Kherson province.
On Thursday, 8 June, Russia released images showing a Ukrainian column moving up and being interdicted by artillery. They were supposedly near a village called Novopokrovka, probably the one in Zaporizhzhia Oblast to the NNE of Melitopol. As least one German Leopard 2A4 tank was destroyed along with 4 U.S. M-113s. See this video for a discussion: Update from Ukraine | The Counterattack Start is not good | Leopard-2 Convoy was Ambushed – YouTube. The unit was pretty compacted while it was travelling. I gather it was the 47th Mechanized Brigade, which was reported back in March to be armed with T-55S and Bradleys: The nine new brigades for the spring offensive – organization | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org
On 10 June, Neskuchne (pop. 644 in 2016) was taken (or earlier). On 11 June, Blahodatne (pop. around 1,000) was taken by the Ukrainian 68th Jager Brigade. On 11 June Makarivka was taken. On 11 or 12 June Storozheve was taken by 35th Naval Infantry Bde. These are all small towns clustered to the northwest of Mariupol. A breakthrough here would effectively isolate Crimea and all points to the west. Lots of potential here, although it is still a fairly limited advance. Makarivka is 56 miles (90 kilometers) from Mariupol.
One twitter report on the action at Blahodatne said that 60 people from the 68th Jager Brigade attacked, and 4 were killed (see @armedMaidan for June 17). If this is true, this is a company-level attack by a brigade-sized force. I think this is fairly typical of what is happening across the front.
The 47th Mech Bde is one of the 9 new brigades raise for this offensive. The other two units listed above have been around since early in the war (April 2022 for the 68th) and from the beginning (in the case of the 35th Naval Infantry Bde). See: The nine new brigades for the spring offensive – organization | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org).
Some Ukrainian loss figures are coming in. The attack on the advancing tank company on 8 June resulted in at least one Leopard tank and 4 M-113 destroyed. It appears that four Leopards have been confirmed as lost overall along with 2 AMX-10RCs. A total of 16 U.S. Bradleys have been killed (see: Ukraine loses 16 US-made armored vehicles, group says, but still gains territory | CNN). This would indicate that the brigades involved include 47th Mech Bde (with 99 M-2 Bradleys) and the 37th Bde with 14 AMX-10s. It does appear that 2 of 9 new brigades slotted for this spring offensive have been committed to action. Some people are saying they have committed three new brigades (they are not named), see: Ukraine deploys 3 of 12 brigades in counteroffensive, main battle still ahead − Reuters (msn.com). Article also notes that “Muzyka believes that the counteroffensive initially progressed quite well, but progress seems to have stopped 5 or 6 days after the start of this significant phase. The analysist has no idea why it happened. The current count of lost Bradley’s according to Oryx and other sources is 34 destroyed or damaged. This is 15 destroyed, 15 damaged and 4 damaged and abandoned (see: Attack On Europe: Documenting Ukrainian Equipment Losses During The Russian Invasion Of Ukraine – Oryx (oryxspioenkop.com)). This is out of at least 99 provided and maybe as many at 109. With them all assigned to 47th Mech Bde, and there being around 30 Bradley in each of three mechanized battalions, this indicates that two of their four manuever brigades have been shot up.
Also of note is 3 Leopard 2A4s lost (1 destroyed, 2 damaged) and 5 Leopard 2A6 lost (2 destroyed). So, at least 3 Leopards lost (33rd Bde?), along with 1 PT-91 Twardy (117th Bde?), 1 M-55S (47th MBde?), up to 4 AMX-10 (37th Bde), 41 M-113 (28 destroyed – possibly 118th MBde) and 54 M1224 MaxxPro MRAPs (38 destroyed – possibly 32nd or 33rd Bde). See: The nine new brigades for the spring offensive – organization | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org).
Probably the most significant loss was four Leopard mine plow tanks were killed at the same time and place, along with an MRAP and a Bradley. Finland provided Ukraine with up to six of these modified tanks. Not sure what killed them but picture leaves one to suspect they were taken out by mines, which is kind of what they were supposed to sweeping. One wonders if this was an equipment shortfall.
On 12 June, Russian MG Sergei Goryachev, the COS 35th CAA, was reported killed by Russian bloggers. On 14 June Kadyrov (Chechen leader) reported that one of his commanders, Adam Delimkhanov, age 53, is missing and then later denied it. This guy: Adam Delimkhanov – Wikipedia.
On 11 July LtG Oleg Tsokov was killed in Berdiansk when the Ukrainians struck the 58th Combined Arms Army command post. He was 51 years old and deputy commander of the Southern Military District. He had previously been wounded in September 2022 while commanding the 20th Guards Combined Arms Army.
On 11 July is was announced the MG Ivan Popov, commander of the 58th Combined Arms Army was relieved of command and his message of protest was published by a deputy of the State Duma the following day. See: First Prigozhin, now Popov | 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 29 August. The map now has three updates for 2023, Soledar on 16 January, near Orkhiv on 9 June 2023 and near Velyka Novosilka on 11 June 2023. They are also showing Bakhmut in Russian hands and Ukraine across the Dnipro River near Kherson. They are also showing the crossing at Kozachi Laheri and Klishchiivka (south of Bakhmut) as being in Ukrainian hands.
Russia currently occupies five cities: 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.
We have been looking at six major areas of operations. Only the Donbas appears to be active right now:
1. Kyiv (pop: 2,962,180): It appears that Kyiv is secure.
2. Odesa (pop: 1,015,826): Odesa was bombed for a few days in response to the attack on the bridge to Crimea. Civilian casualties are low, which is good. It shows that Russia was concentrating primarily on industrial and economic targets, vice civilians, although they have also taken out a classic church. Mykolaiv was also attacked. Two civilians were killed there.
The grain deal ended on 17 July. As of 17 July, the amount of grain shipped from Ukrainian ports and across the Black Sea under this initiative was 32,861,707 metric tonnes carried in 1004 ships according to posts on twitter by @exit266. All 1004 ships have now arrived at their destinations. No ships were lost during the period of the grain deal.
Renegotiation is under way. Russia apparently wants some sanctions lifted. Also, Turkey did hand over 5 detained Mariupol defenders to Ukraine and has agreed to allow Sweden to join NATO. This does put Erdogan at odds with Putin. There may not be another grain deal and Ukraine is expanding its shipments by rail to the southwest.
Russian attacks on Odesa have reportedly destroyed over 180,000 tons of grain, in addition to attacking the storage and rail infrastructure.
Russia is claiming that they destroyed the Ukrainian 1,192-ton landing ship Yury Olefirenko, which is supposed to be Ukraine’s last warship. It was launched in 1970.
The Russian intelligence collection ship the Priazovye (3,470 tons full load) was attacked in the Black Sea by six sea-borne kamakaze drone. They were all intercepted and destroyed.
The Rapucha class landing ship Olenegorsky Gornyak was damaged on 4 August by Ukrainian sea drones, as Ukraine continues to make the Black Sea inhospitable for Russia. This occurred in or around the port of Novorssiysk, to the east of Crimea.
On 10 July, 6 AM, the commander of the submarine Krasnodar as executed in Krasnodar, Russia with four shots with a 9mm at close range. He was jogging in the rain. Stanislav Ryhitsky was 42. The Krasnodar conducted a missile attack against Vinnytsia in July 14 that killed 27.
Not directly related to this war, but Russian is now down to only one active Kirov class battlecruiser (the Admiral Nakhimov). They used to have four, but the two were scrapped in 2021 and now the Peter the Great (Pyotr Velikiy) is being scrapped. They are based in the Baltic (which is becoming a NATO sea).
A significant element of Ukraine’s ability to deny the northwestern Black Sea to Russia is the manufacture and deployment of various “Sea baby” drones.
3. Kharkiv (pop: 1,433,886): Kharkiv looks to be secure. Still, it is near the Russian border, so this can change suddenly.
On the other hand, Russia is stating on 23 August that 3 people will killed in attacks on Belgorod province.
4. The Donetsk and Luhansk provinces (the Donbas): Complete write-up is available in this post: The Russo-Ukrainian War – Day 355 | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org). The Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) is reporting as of 16 December that they had 4,133 soldiers killed and 17,379 wounded (4.20-to-1 wounded-to-killed ratio). This includes the 13 killed and 50 wounded reported from 01.01.22 to 02.25.22. For the period of 16 – 22 December (overlapping dates on 16 December) they report 43 killed, but do not report the wounded. Through the 16th, this is 108% casualties out of an estimated initial force of 20,000. 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.
On the evening of 27 June, a restaurant in Kramatorsk was hit by a Russian missile killing 11. Lviv has now been hit, killing 9.
5. Mariupol (pop: 431,859): Complete write-up is available in this post: The Russo-Ukrainian War – Day 355 | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org). Google maps has updated its images of Mariupol to show the city as it is now (extensively shelled) vice how it used to look before the war.
Russia is putting 22 prisoners from Mariupol on trial. They are all members of the Azov Battalion, which Russia has designated a terrorist organization. Eight of the prisoners are woman, who are reported to have worked as cooks for the Azov Battalion. Two other prisoners who had been charged have been exchanged in prisoner exchanges.
Prisoner Exchanges: Russia has claimed that they captured 2,439 prisoners from the siege of Mariupol. Russian claimed on 30 June that they held 6,000 prisoners. Ukraine stated in early July that they had more than 7,000 missing. Now Ukraine is stating as of 30 December that Russian holds 3,400 prisoners and 15,000 Ukrainians are missing.
In 2022 there were 1,447 prisoners of war exchanged, 112 civilians and five foreigners. Of those, at least 427 were from Mariupol/Azovstal and up to 53 others were killed in captivity. Latest prisoner exchange on 8 January was for 50 prisoners. Another prisoner exchange on 4 February of 116. Some of these Ukrainian prisoners had been in captivity for almost a year. Latest prisoner exchange, on 16 February, was for 100 soldiers and one civilian for 101 Russian soldiers. 94 of them were defenders of Mariupol, including 63 soldiers from Azovstal. There was another prisoner exchange on 7 March with 130 Ukrainians exchanged for 90 Russians. This included 87 Mariupol defenders (71 from Azovstal). 35 of them were soldiers captured in Bakhmut and Soledar. Most of the Ukrainian and Russian prisoners were seriously injured.
The Ukrainian Omsbudsman has stated in late January that 800 severely wounded Ukrainians are held as POWs. He also stated that they hold 200 severely wounded Russians.
There was a prisoner exchange in early May of 42 soldiers and two civilians for what I assume was a similar number of Russians. On 7 May, Russia exchanged 45 defenders of Azovstal, including 10 officers for only just 3 pilots. I gather Russia is still holding thousands of more prisoners than Ukraine does.
Zelenskyy said on 6 June that they have recovered around 2,500 prisoners, including 370 civilians., The last count I had of Ukrainian captured was around 6,000.
There was yet another prisoner exchange on 11 June for 95 POWs. There was a prisoner exchange on 7 July of 45 Russian soldiers for 45 Ukrainian soldiers and 2 civilians.
On 8 July. the five Ukrainian Azov battalion officers who were held in Turkey in accordance with an agreement with Russia, were released to Zelenskyy to return to Ukraine. This is an odd maneuver, as it appears that Erdogan violated his agreement with Putin. I believe they were supposed to be kept in Turkey until the war was over. This will create difficulties going forward. Added to that, the American Trevor Reed, who was detained by Russia for three years, was released on 27 April 2022 and then travelled to Ukraine starting 1 November. He was wounded two weeks ago fighting for Ukraine around Bakhmut. Unfortunately, I think this all makes the argument that Russia should not be making prisoner exchanges nor releasing detained Americans.
There was a prisoner exchange on 7 August 2023 for 22 soldiers, so apparently these efforts have not ended the prisoner exchanges. Russia still holds thousands of more prisoners than Ukraine does. There were 22 of them are still facing trials. Four have now been convicted and sentenced to 24 or more years in prison.
6. Crimea & Kherson (pop: 283,649): Kherson is now back under Ukrainian control as of 11 November. Complete write-up is available in this post: The Russo-Ukrainian War – Day 355 | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org). Also see for updates: The Russo-Ukrainian War – Day 471 | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org).
Due to the dam being blown, as of the end of June, the Kakhovka Reservoir has been drained by 10 meters. Only 24% of its previous surface is now covered with water. This still does not make the area a prime choice for military operations.
On 4 August the bridge from Kerch to Crimea was again attacked. The previous attack on the bridge occurred on 17 July by 3 naval drones. That attack shut down one lane. It appears that Ukraine is working on isolating Crimea.
In celebration of Ukrainian Independence Day (24 August 1991), there was a Ukrainian special operations landing on the west point of Crimea, raising a Ukrainian flag there.
Weather: Kharkiv at 6 PM: It is 76 degrees (24 Celsius) and mostly sunny. No rain forecasted for nine of the next ten days. 0.1″ of rain expected on Friday.
Kherson is also 89 degrees (32 Celsius) and mostly sunny. Weather is mostly sunny and hot for the next ten days, with 0.05″ of rain expected on Friday.
Ukrainian Army Build-up: 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).
Denmark and Netherlands are ordering up and buying another 14 Leopards for Ukraine. They will be arriving in January. Belgium is offering up 40-50 more M-113s. Latvia is sending Ukraine all of its helicopters and Stingers. It does make more sense geopolitically to disarm yourself now to support Ukraine, then to hold onto war material at the expense of Ukraine’s war effort.
Ukraine has lots more material on the way, including 25 Leopard IA5 (the older, less armored Leopards), 40 Marder 1A3 IFV (this adds up to a total of 100 provided by Germany). The U.S. is providing another 32 Bradleys and 32 Strikers. Bulgaria, which was initially hesitant to support Ukraine, is now providing 100 Soviet-era BTRs to Ukraine. It is now claimed that the M-1s will be arriving in September and this still appears to be the case. Also, there is an effort by Belgium to refurbish from a pool of 50 old Leopards and ship another 30 Leopards I to Ukraine. Germany has almost committed to sending yet another 40 Marders, 6 Bergepanzers, 2 mine clearing tanks, and 11 T-72s mine plows (which have already arrived).
The U.S. had added another 32 Strykers in the latest late July aid package to Ukraine. Also, Spain is sending them another 4 Leopard II, upping the number of Leopards they have provided to 10. Bulgaria is now saying they are going to provide almost 100 Soviet-era AFVs come this fall.
As of 25 July, Ukraine is now using U.S. provided cluster munitions in the fighting around Bakhmut. It was being reported they were being used as early as 20 July. There are reports that Ukraine was using Turkish provided cluster bombs as early as November 2022.
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.
Russian Army Build-up: Complete write-up is available in this post: The Russo-Ukrainian War – Day 471 | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org).
Prigozhin reported that 32,000 prisoners who fought for Wagner have now returned home. So far, they have only committed 83 crimes since they left his employment. He was claiming on 23 June that he has 25,000 troops.
Zelenskyy does claim that 21,000 of the Wagner Group were killed and 80,000 wounded. The math does not work on this claim.
The Wagner Group claimed this last week that they had 22,000 killed and 40,000 wounded out of a force of 78,000. They report that 49,000 of the force were convicts (meaning 29,000 were regular contracted soldiers). Some Wagner troops are moving to Belarus.
According to Putin, from May 2022 to May 2023 Russian paid the Wagner group 86 billion rubles and paid Prigozhin’s catering company (which is supplying the Russian Army) 80 billion rubles. This is over a billion U.S. dollars in both cases.
On the other hand, other people are pointing out that the now returned Wagner freed prisoners have conducted at least four murders since their return home: The Wagner Murders In Russia Are An Omen Of Deaths To Come | by Barry Gander | May, 2023 | Medium.
We did a report from Daudov this last week that stated that 29,000 Chechens have fought in this war, 13,000 of them volunteers. More than 7,000 OMON and Akhmatova fighters remain.
The state of Russian morale is open to question. Last week, one Russia lieutenant defected to Lithuania. One wonders if offing the head of Wagner does anything negative for Russian morale.
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) is hovering at 84.19 as of 12:02 PM EST. Ruble had moved back up with state support. It is now at 94.42 to the dollar.
On 6 May “right-wing” activist, Yevgeny Prilepin, was seriously injured near Nizhny Novgorod when his car was blown up. His bodyguard died. On 2 April, Vladlen Tartarsky, 40, a pro-war Russian blogger, was assassinated in St. Petersburg. The accidental assassin, who was also wounded, was Darya Trepova, 25. The previous war-related assassination was of Darya Dugina, 29, back on 20 August 2022. Not sure who was responsible for any of these three efforts.
There are still some political protests in Russia in June, with a female protester being arrested in Moscow and in Kazan. It is reported that over 100 protesters were arrested: Russian police arrest more than 100 Navalny supporters, group says (msn.com).
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: 30,003 or more (Russian Army – Mediazona count as of 11 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.
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 Ukranian defense minister appears to be staying. On the other hand, this last week Zelenskyy removed all the officers in charge of recruiting over corruption issues. Zelensky is also pushing a bill in the Rada (their parliament) to define corruption during wartime as treason.
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 debate is scheduled for 27 September, 2) the tentative start date for the trail in Fulton County Georgia is October 23 at the request of some (but not all) the Defendents, 3) the Iowa caucuses will be on 15 January 2024, 4) the Nevada primary will be on 6 February 2024, 5) the New Hampshire primary is scheduled for 13 February 2024, 6) 24 February is SC primary, then MI, 7) The date for the DOJ Special Council trail for charges related to the 6 January incidents in now scheduled for 4 March, 8) 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, 9) 25 March is the trail date for Donald Trump’s New York Stormy Daniel’s related case, 10) 20 May is the trial date for Donald Trump’s classified documents case, 11) 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.
The elements of Wagner now based in Belarus are also in decline. It was supposed to be 10,000 troops, but a couple of days it was being reported that hundreds were leaving Belarus because of a lack of pay. Problem with being a defense contractor. Now Progozhin and other commanders of Wagner are dead. Someone (Belarus?) has cut off their internet in Belarus. So, suspect these forces will become a non-entity soon.
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.