Some Startling Numbers From Ukraine Intelligence
Newsweek has a comprehensive article this week about the estimated Russian and Ukrainian losses in the unresolved battle for Bakhmut. It’s worth a read. But it has a graphic that stopped me in my tracks.
The graphic shows Ukrainian estimates of total Russian losses since the inception of the war. Even taken with a serious grain of salt, they are unreal. Only history will tell how accurate these are as both sides wage an information and disinformation war in parallel with the war on the ground.
Here’s a sampling of the alleged losses:
- Killed and wounded Russian personnel: 156,990
- Tanks destroyed: 3448
- Armored combat vehicles: 6742
- Artillery pieces: 2475
- Multiple launch rocket systems: 491
- Air defense systems: 256
- Military jets: 304
- Helicopters: 289
These kinds of losses are the price Putin and his generals are paying for a war that never made any sense in the first place. Again, these are Ukrainian numbers, but if they are even close it’s very bad news for the Russians.
The really unfortunate reality here is they are about to come out of the frozen war of late winter and into the mud war of early spring with a major Ukrainian offensive in the wings. But this situation is made far more complex and difficult to understand because of an unusual turn of events in Russia.
I can’t emphasize enough that nothing I’m writing about are known and verified facts. The fog of war is complicated by all the misinformation tools deployed on both sides. But a lot of rumors are pointing to various camps on the Russian side building up private mercenary armies, like the existing Wagner Group.
The attempts by those seeking power to raise private armies is something not seen in modern conflict. If true, it promises a long term destabilization or breakup of Russia into rival camps, an outcome that is the opposite of Putin’s vision of a Russian empire.