Russian losses continue to mount on day twelve, as concrete evidence of a successful advance on any front remains elusive.
According to an amateur website that compiles photographic and video evidence of lost vehicles to monitor the conflict, Russia has lost 868 vehicles and weapons systems thus far in the conflict, while Ukraine has lost 249. Caveats aside, this would mean that Russian forces are trading at a ratio of 3.5 to 1.
The scale of these losses may add weight to Ukraine’s claim of 11,000 Russian casualties inflicted so far, though the real figure is of course likely to be lower.
A Russian patrol vessel, the Vasily Bykov, appears to have been badly damaged by a land-based Ukrainian MLRS system. If confirmed, this could mark the first casualty among Russian navy vessels in this conflict.
Russian press secretary Dmitry Peskov announces that Russia will ‘end its military campaign immediately’ if Ukraine recognises the Crimea and the separatist republics, does not join NATO, and ends its fighting campaign. If this offer is sincere, it marks a significant concession from the original Russian position, demanding neither ‘denazification’ nor ‘disarmament’, nor any de-facto territorial concessions.
There may yet be an early conclusion to this war; however, extreme nationalist elements within the Ukrainian camp are unlikely to accept the recognition of either Crimea or the separatist states.
It was announced today that a cabinet-level tripartite meeting between the foreign ministers of Russia, Ukraine, and Turkey would take place in Ankara on Thursday. In other negotiations news, a diplomat from the Ukrainian side was either assassinated or executed without trial following allegations that he was passing information to the Russians.
Bombardment of major cities continues in Chernihiv, Kharkiv, and Kiev. Another ceasefire has been arranged to evacuate Sumy and Mariupol of civilians.
The Russian convoy north of Kiev has been hit by a drone strike; the following footage shows a Buk air defence system taken out by the now famous Bayraktar TB-2 combat drone. Further footage shows fires and scattered fighting on the outskirts of Kiev.
Russian convoys remain vulnerable in ambushes and skirmishes in rural areas of Ukraine, as the mounting footage of destroyed trucks indicates. 7 fuel trucks were destroyed near Pryluhy, near the surrounded city of Chernihiv, while a cluster of knocked-out vehicles near Mariupol testifies to intense fighting and successful ambushes. How these ambushes will affect the success of humanitarian corridors in Mariupol remains to be seen.
Russian strikes are now apparently aiming to take out Ukraine’s logistical and warfighting capacity. Russia has said it will henceforth target military production facilities, such as Kharkiv’s tank factories. Today a Russian airstrike hit two oil depots near Zhytomyr, to the west of Kiev.
Unconfirmed footage shows Ukrainian surface to air missile (SAM) operators downing another Russian jet earlier today. While air losses have not been as severe as day ten, the mass of MANPADs and SAMs supplied by NATO appears to be taking a steady attritional toll on Russian air assets.
Despite significant losses, if momentum factors such as morale and supply do not collapse for the Russian Army over the coming days, they still occupy an advantageous position on the ground. This is due to a combination of good initial strategic positioning (i.e. surrounding Ukraine from three points of the compass) and large numbers of armoured vehicles. Several of Ukraine’s key cities are cut off or partly surrounded by rural flanking movements.
Near Mykolaiv, Russian forces are believed to be operating approximately 10km south of Yuzhnaukrainsk, home to another of Ukraine’s nuclear power plants as well as a hydroelectric dam. Securing this facility would leave Russia in control of approximately 75% of Ukraine’s nuclear power generating capacity.
Russia is also three cities away from securing Ukraine’s entire coastline, and two of these cities are surrounded (Mariupol and Mykolaiv). Both of these cities are defended by Ukraine’s most experienced brigades. The remaining port city is Odessa, where there has been limited bombardment and a few Russian vessel sightings, but no serious incursion of ground forces.
Photo Credit: Фото Дмитрий Муравский, Ministry of Defense of Ukraine. CC SA 2.0.
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