The Russo-Ukrainian War – Day 589

No movement to report on the ground. It is looking like this “spring” offensive is over, although the weather is still favorable for 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.

The Ukrainians are supposedly through the first defensive line in this area south of Orikhiv, but have not been able to exploit this. Ukraine still has another 30 or so 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.

The 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 mapIt is dated 5 October. The last dated update on the map was 11 June 2023, although it has clearly been updated to show Klishchiivka in Ukrainian hands.

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 62 degrees (17 Celsius) and partly cloudy. Rain forecasted for four of the next ten days. There is 0.05″ expected on Saturday.

Kherson is 68 degrees (20 Celsius) and mostly sunny. Rain forecasted for four of the next ten days. There is 0.20″ expected i the next 24 hours.

Ukrainian Army Build-up: At least 10 M-1s are in Ukraine. They were confirmed to arrive by 25 September. Also, the first 10 of a 100 Leopard Is (older, less armored version of the tank) have arrived in Ukraine.

It is claimed on 18 July 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 themIt is reported that some of the troops are learning how to use some equipment from YouTube videos.

Since the start of this offensive four 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 on 5 September. 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 in August. 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 in September there are 200,000 Russian troops in Ukraine. The Ukrainian defense intel guys were saying at the same time that 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) is back down, now at 84.26 as of 11:44 AM EST. Ruble continues to drop and is now at 100.26 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.

Don’t have updated figures from the UN for the month of September, but on 5 October, a shop and cafe in the village of Hroza (pop. 330), near Krupiansk, was hit by an Iskander ballistic missile killing 52 civilians. They were gathered for a memorial service.

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. was reporting in August that it is now producing 24,000 155mm shells a month. This is up from 14,000 before the war. The Pentagon is now saying that they will be producing 100,000 shells per month by 2025 and are currently producing 28,000 shells a month. They expect to be producing 57,000 a month by next spring.

They are reporting that Russia may be able to increase artillery production to 2 million shell a year. I gather they are producing around a million a year now (see: Russia ramps up artillery production but still falling short, Western official says | Reuters). Not sure what percent of Ukrainian shells are “smart” rounds vice what percent of Russian shells are.

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.

The Ukrainians also hit the Russian naval headquarters in Sevastopol on 22 September using at least two British supplied Storm Shadow cruise missiles. The Ukrainians claimed 34 Russian officers killed, including the commander of the Black Sea Fleet and 105 soldiers were wounded. The Russians claimed that only 6 were injured and no one killed. Russia did show a video show the commander looking very alive. On 25 September, Russia announced it was demolishing the HQ building.

By its use of missiles and drones, Ukraine has wrestled partial control of the western half of the Black Sea. There have now been over a half-dozen ships that have sailed from Odesa to Bosporus even though no grain deal is in place.

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 3/5 September. This looked like something that had to happen. Two weeks before 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 defense minister is Rustem Umierov, who is Muslim. He is from a Crimean Tatar family. He was sworn in by the Rada on 6 September.

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).

Other Issues:

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. The shut of U.S. government was delayed for 45 days (until mid-November), the Speaker of the House was thrown out of office for the first time in the U.S. history, a new speaker will not be appointed until next week so all House business has stopped, and new additional aid for Ukraine has not been passed.

The second Republican primary debate occurred on 27 September. Four candidates clearly and strongly indicated that they support Ukraine (Christie, Haley, Pence and Scott). The Republican Party seems to split on this issue. Recent polling shows the majority of Americans still support Ukraine.

A few dates to keep in mind for the American political campaigns: 1) the third Republican debate is scheduled for 8 November, 2) Donald Trump currently leads the polling for the Republican Party presidential nomination by significant margins. He is currently in a civil trial in New York concerning his businesses. A summary judgment was issued on 26 September that his companies had committed fraud, 3) the tentative start date for the criminal trial 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 criminal trial 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 trial 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 of the four 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 won 42 out of 150 seats in the parliamentary elections for Slovakia on 30 September. Their party leader, Robert Fico (b. 1964), has until 16 October to form a government. Their leader has promised to not send a single bullet to Ukraine. See: Opinion polling for the 2023 Slovak parliamentary election – Wikipedia. He has since moderated his position.

Ukraine is gotten into an argument with some of its eastern European allies over exportation of cheaper grain. Poland was threatening to cut off military aide to Ukraine. They are also threatening to send all the Ukrainian migrants home. It appears that they are now working it out.

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: Azerbaijan has taken the capital of Karabakh, the town of Khankendi (pop. 75,000 in 2021) and closed down the Lachin Corridor. This was a two-day offensive covering 19 and 20 September that took the rest of the country. This ends the conflict for the moment, with Azerbaijan having completely taken the Nagorno-Karabakh area between its war in 2020 and the events of the last week. The President of Artkakh (Karabakh) issued a decree of 28 September to dissolve all state institutions from 1 January 2024. The state effectively does not exist now, having first come into existence in late 1991, as the Soviet Union was breaking up.

There were Russian peacekeepers, around 2,000 in the area. They were unable to stop Azerbaijan and took casualties. The deputy commander of the Russian peacekeeping force has been killed, as were at least four other officers. It kind of shows that Russia is currently not able to control the Caucasus. One wonders what is next.

Protests continue against the Armenian government in Yerevan. They started on 19 September with thousands protesting and are continuing. On 25 September 140 protesters were arrested. It appears both the protestors and the government are western leaning, but there is general dissatisfaction with the government over having lost the war in Karabakh. The protesting appears to have died down after 25 September. The Armenian parliament voted on Tuesday (3 Oct) to join the ICC (International Criminal Court). The ICC currently has arrest warrants out for Vladimir Putin.

As of 28 September Kazakhstan has said it will comply with sanctions against Russia. Kazakhstan is a member of the Eurasian Union. It was Ukrainian President Victor Yanukovych’s decision to join the Eurasian Union vice EU that led to the protests in late 2013 that resulted in his overthrow in 2014, the Russian-supported successionist war in Ukraine in 2014, followed by the Russian seizure of Crimea in 2014.

Meanwhile, on 27 September, one American and two Russian astronauts/cosmonauts landed in Kazakhstan after their joint space mission. They have been in space 371 days. The record is 437 days.

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.

This entry was posted in Eastern Europe, Russia by Christopher A. Lawrence. Bookmark the permalink.

About 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. ... 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. ... 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). ... Mr. Lawrence lives in northern Virginia, near Washington, D.C., with his wife and son.

4 thoughts on “The Russo-Ukrainian War – Day 589

      • The title page reads “September 2023”. It’s not like I produced it. 😉

        Points:

        -I think I asked this before, but how thick were the minefield belts at Kursk? Russian doctrine was supposedly only 120 m, but is 500m now (p. 2)

        -One of the German Panzer Corps (I forget which one, but TND did a QJM for it), did something like 35 km in a week at Kursk. The Ukrainians haven’t 35 km in 3 months.

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