On day 62 of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Russian army is still trying to achieve a breakthrough in eastern Ukraine. Reports indicate heavy fighting in the region as Ukrainian forces try to slow or stop the Russian advancemainly by counter-attacks.
The United States and the European Union continue to supply Ukraine with heavy weapons.
The Battle in the East
In its Daily War Estimate, the British Ministry of Defense estimated that russian forces attempt to encircle heavily fortified Ukrainian positions and create pockets. Russian forces appear to have made limited progress.
“Russian forces are likely trying to encircle heavily fortified Ukrainian positions in eastern Ukraine. The town of Kreminna is reported to have fallen and heavy fighting is reported south of Izium, as Russian forces attempt to advance towards the towns of Sloviansk and Kramatorsk from the north and east. Ukrainian forces have prepared defenses in Zaporizhzhia for a possible Russian attack from the south,” British Military Intelligence said. declared.
Mariupol still remains contested, with the last remaining Ukrainian defenders and thousands of civilians entrenched in the massive Azovstal steelworks. Although Russian President Vladimir Putin Declared victory in the port city in southern Ukraine, the Russian army commits about 12 tactical battalion groups, or about 8,000 to 12,000 men, to contain and defeat the last Ukrainian forces.
On Monday, Transnistria, a pro-Russian separatist province of Moldova in western Ukraine, was rocked by several explosions. The Russian military has several hundred troops in the breakaway province, and the Ukrainian government claimed the blasts were part of a false flag operation to justify a Russian incursion from there. But a few hundred troops won’t be able to do serious damage, and the Russian army can hardly sustain them as they wage a major offensive with hundreds of thousands of troops in the east.
The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense claims that as of Tuesday, Ukrainian forces had killed approximately 22,100 Russian troops (and wounded about three times that number), destroyed 184 fighter, attack and transport aircraft, 154 helicopters, 918 tanks, 416 artillery pieces, 2,308 armored personnel carriers, 149 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS)eight boats, 1,643 vehicles, 76 fuel tanks, 69 anti-aircraft batteries, 205 unmanned aerial systems, 31 special equipment platforms, such as bridging vehicles, and four mobile Iskander ballistic missile systems.
According to US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, the training of the first 50 Ukrainian soldiers on the M-777 howitzers has been completed, and the next batch of 50 are expected to begin training soon. The Pentagon has already delivered 18 artillery pieces to Ukraine, with seven more on the way; the other 72 will follow soon. Ukraine has also received around $320 million in foreign military aid to buy all the military equipment it needs, including old Soviet weapons systems.
Moscow repeatedly warned the United States and the European Union against sending arms to Ukraine.
Degrade the Russian army
The White House has provided some clarification on Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin’s comments on his trip to Ukraine. The Defense Secretary said the United States wanted to see Russian military capabilities degrade to such a level that Moscow would not be able to undertake similar aggressive campaigns against its neighbors.
“Well, I think what Secretary Austin was referring to in his press conference was the fact that if you go back to about two months ago, remember President Putin gave a speech in which he talked about the aspirations – his aspirations, the aspirations he had for the Russian military – which were to degrade Ukraine, of course; to subsume Ukraine, to take over its sovereignty, its territorial integrity,” the secretary said. White House press secretary Jen Psaki in a press conference.
“Of course they didn’t achieve it, but go beyond that. So what Secretary Austin was talking about is our goal to prevent that from happening. Obviously, right now, the war is in Ukraine. They are — we are proud of the success of the Ukrainians; their efforts to fight back, to repel the Russian military, thanks to their bravery but also to our support. But, yes, we are also looking to prevent them from extending their efforts and President Putin’s goals beyond that as well,” Psaki added.
[1945’sNewColumnofDefenseandNationalSecurity[1945’sNouveauchroniqueurdedéfenseetdesécuriténationaleStavros Atlamazoglou is a seasoned defense journalist specializing in special operations, a Hellenic Army Veteran (National Service with the 575th Marine Battalion and Army HQ) and a graduate of Johns Hopkins University. His work has been featured in Business Intern, Sandboxand SOFREP.