More signs indicate Russia’s invasion of Ukraine could be unraveling
Holly Williams – October 29, 2022
There are more and more signs that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine could be unraveling.
One of the most glaring setbacks in its war is its recent big call-up of more troops — a plan that doesn’t appear to be working. Russia’s mobilization has caused anger at home, forcing the old and inexperienced into uniform, with claims they’re short of even basic equipment. The call-up followed weeks of embarrassing setbacks for Russian forces, as Ukraine has retaken swaths of its territory. And in the Russian-occupied city of Kherson, officials appointed by Moscow have evacuated civilians ahead of another expected Ukrainian counter-offensive.
On Russian state TV, at times the tone seems close to despair. Russia miscalculated its strength and for eight straight months can’t win in its war on Ukraine, said one commentator. Perhaps another sign of Russian desperation is its new tactic: targeting the Ukrainian power grid, which has led to blackouts in Ukraine — but no collapse in morale. As Russia’s nuclear forces started annual drills this week, President Vladimir Putin repeated his government’s allegation that Ukraine could detonate a radioactive device — a so-called “dirty bomb.” Some fear Russia is planning a false-flag operation, staging an incident and blaming Ukraine, perhaps as a pretext for using a nuclear weapon. “I’m not guaranteeing you that it’s a false flag operation yet, don’t know,” said President Joe Biden. “But it would be a serious, serious mistake.” Ukraine’s defense minister told CBS News Russia is exhausted, and trying to force Ukraine and the West to negotiate. In a bizarre speech this week, Putin railed against the West, including gay pride parades and so-called cancel culture. But he also said that it would make no sense for Russia to use a nuclear weapon. Biden’s response to that was: If he has no intention, why does he keep talking about it?
In Putin’s Russia, the Arrests Are Spreading Quickly and Widely
Anton Troianovski – July 5, 2022
They came for Dmitry Kolker, an ailing physicist, in the intensive care ward. They came for Ivan Fedotov, a hockey star, as he was leaving practice with a film crew in tow. They came for Vladimir Mau, a state university rector, the week he was reelected to the board of Gazprom.
The message sent by these high-profile detentions: Nearly anyone is now punishable in Vladimir Putin’s Russia.
The flurry of arrests across the country in recent days has signaled that the Kremlin is intent on tightening the noose around Russian society even further. It appears to be a manifestation of Putin’s declaration in the early weeks of his war in Ukraine that Russia needed to cleanse itself of pro-Western “scum and traitors,” and it is creating an unmistakable chill.
“Every day feels like it could be the last,” Leonid Gozman, 71, a commentator who continues to speak out against Putin and the war, said in a phone interview from Moscow, acknowledging the fear that he, too, could be arrested.
None of the targets of the recent crackdown was an outspoken Kremlin critic; many of the loudest Putin opponents who chose to stay in Russia after the invasion of Ukraine, like politicians Ilya Yashin and Vladimir Kara-Murza, were already in jail. But each of the recent crackdown targets represented an outward-looking Russia that Putin increasingly describes as an existential threat. And the ways they were taken into custody appeared designed to make waves.
Kolker, the physicist, entered the hospital in the Siberian city of Novosibirsk last week for treatment for late-stage cancer, so weak that he was unable to eat. The next day, agents for the Federal Security Service, or FSB, the successor agency to the KGB, arrived and, accusing him of treason, flew him to a Moscow jail. Over the weekend, he died in custody.
“The FSB killed my father,” his son Maxim, 21, wrote in all capitals on social media alongside an image of the three-line telegram sent by the authorities to notify the family of the death. “They didn’t even let our family say goodbye.”
Maxim Kolker, who is following in his father’s footsteps as a physicist in Novosibirsk, said Dmitry Kolker had been known for hiring students to work in his laboratory, helping persuade some budding Russian scientists not to seek work abroad.
Now, he said in a phone interview, the family has to return Kolker’s body from Moscow at their own cost.
It was unclear why the FSB targeted Dmitry Kolker, 54, a specialist in quantum optics. State media reported that he had been jailed on suspicion of passing secrets abroad. But critics of the Kremlin say it is part of a widening campaign by the FSB to crack down on freedom of thought in the academic world. Another Novosibirsk physicist who was also arrested on suspicion of treason last week, Anatoly Maslov, remains in custody.
The arrests came at the same time as the arrest on fraud charges of Mau, a leading Russian economist who is the head of a sprawling state university, the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration.
Mau, 62, was in no way a public critic of the Kremlin. He had joined more than 300 senior academic officials in signing a March open letter calling Russia’s invasion of Ukraine a “necessary decision,” and he was reelected to the board of Gazprom, the Russian energy giant, just last week. But he also had a reputation as what scholars of Russian politics call a “systemic liberal,” someone who was working within Putin’s system to try to nudge it in a more open and pro-Western direction.
His Kremlin ties were not enough, it turned out, to save Mau from a fraud case that has already ensnared the rector of another leading university and that critics said appeared designed to snuff out remaining pockets of dissent in Russian academia.
“A big enemy of the government and the stability of the government are people who carry knowledge,” said Gozman, who worked with Mau as a government adviser in the 1990s. “Truth is an enemy here.”
Ekaterina Schulmann, a political scientist who taught at Mau’s academy until April, called the institution “the educational hub for most of the country’s civic bureaucracy” and described his arrest as Russia’s highest-level criminal prosecution since 2016. It indicated, she said, that ideological purity was becoming an ever more important priority for Russian authorities, especially in education.
“In education, it is important that a person actively profess and share the values that he has to implant in the heads of his students,” said Schulmann, now a fellow at the Robert Bosch Academy in Berlin. “Here, ambiguous loyalty may not be permitted.”
Putin has said as much himself. In the speech in March in which he railed about the traitors in Russia’s midst, he called out those who physically reside in Russia but live in the West “in their thoughts, in their slave-like consciousness.”
He is also increasingly asserting that truly patriotic Russians must be committed to living and working in Russia. He told an economic conference in St. Petersburg last month that “real, solid success and a feeling of dignity and self-respect only occurs when you tie your future and your children’s future to your Motherland.”
In that context, the news that Fedotov, the goalie of Russia’s silver-medal national hockey team at the Beijing Olympics in February, signed a contract in May with the Philadelphia Flyers was likely to have been seen as a challenge.
Fedotov, 25, one the hockey world’s up-and-coming stars, was planning to leave for the United States this month, according to Russian media reports.
Instead, on Friday, as he was leaving a practice session in St. Petersburg, he was stopped by a group of men, some in masks and camouflage, and taken away in a van, according to a television journalist who was filming a special report about him and saw the incident.
Fedotov’s alleged crime, according to Russian news agencies: evading military service. Russian men under 27 are required to serve for one year, although sports stars are typically able to avoid conscription. On Monday, the RIA Novosti state news agency reported that Fedotov had been taken to an unnamed Russian navy training base.
The elaborate detention was widely perceived as punishment for his having chosen to play in the United States rather than stay in Russia. “I won’t be surprised if they put him on some submarine and send him out to sea,” RIA Novosti quoted a Soviet sports veteran as saying. “He won’t go anywhere after that.”
To Gozman, the liberal commentator who remains in Moscow, a common thread running through the recent arrests was their seemingly gratuitous cruelty. In Putin’s system, he said, such behavior is more likely to be rewarded than censured by the state.
“The system is built in such a way that excessive cruelty by an official is rarely punished,” Gozman said. “But excessive softness can be. So any given official seeks to exhibit great toughness.”
France agrees to deliver French-made CAESAR 155mm wheeled howitzers to Ukraine
April 23, 2022
According to information published by the French newspaper website “Le Figaro“, on April 22, 2022, the French President Emmanuel Macron has unveiled that France will deliver state-of-the-art CAESAR 155mm wheeled self-propelled howitzers to Ukraine.
French army CAESAR 155mm wheeled self-propelled howitzers. (Picture source Army Recognition)
Citing information from the newspaper website “Ouest France” published on April 22, 2022, during an interview, the French President Emmanuel Macron announced that France will deliver CAESAR 155mm wheeled self-propelled howitzer as well as MILAN anti-tank guided missile weapon systems to Ukraine.
According to French Sources, 12 CAESAR 155mm howitzers will come for the military inventory of the French to be delivered to the Ukrainian armed forces. After the announcement on April 21, 2022, by the United States of new $800 million military aid for Ukraine and the help provided by many European countries, France wants to show its support for the Ukrainian government in its fight against the Russian forces which have invaded the country since February 24, 2022.
On April 12, 2022, Army Recognition reported that France and Italy delivered a few dozen Milan anti-tank guided missile weapon systems to Ukraine between February 28 and March 3, 2022.
For the past few days, Russian forces have launched a large offensive in eastern Ukraine and continue to carry out bombardments throughout the country. Russian President Vladimir Putin wants to declare a battlefield victory by May 9, the 77th anniversary of the Soviet Union’s defeat of Nazi Germany.
The main goal of the Russian armed forces is to size the Donbas region and southern Ukraine. The Ukrainian President Zelenskyy also said that Russia has increased the movement of troops in the direction of Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-biggest city, as well as the Donbas and the Dnipropetrovsk region. The Donbas region is made up of the two pro-Russian self-declared republics of Luhansk and Donetsk.
The CAESAR is 155mm wheeled self-propelled fully designed and developed by the French company Nexter. This new artillery was presented for the first time to the public in June 1994 and was ordered by the French army in September 2000 and delivered late in 2022.
Since CAESAR entered into service, this outstanding artillery system has become combat-proven during external combat operations in Afghanistan, Mali, Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, the Sahel region, the Middle East, and East Asia. The CAESAR has served under severe real conditions of engagement (wind, dust, night, snow, the mountain in winter, jungle, deserts of sand and rocks, during extreme temperature, etc.) and showed its great combat capabilities as an artillery support weapon.
The 6×6 wheeled self-propelled howitzer CAESAR is armed with a 155 mm/52 caliber cannon mounted at the rear of the truck chassis. The cannon inherits the long tradition of cannons by Nexter (ex- GIAT Industries), with the French-made TRF1 155mm towed howitzer and the AUF1 self-propelled howitzer on tracked armored chassis. It can be also mounted on 8×8 military truck chassis to increase mobility in all-terrain conditions.
The 155mm/52 caliber of the CAESAR can fire a wide range of ammunition: among others, LU family (HE, Illuminating, Smoke and Practice) filled with insensitive or conventional explosives, the BONUS (Anti-Tank, smart), ERFB NR (Explosive Extended-Range Full-Bore), as well as the new KATANA 155mm, guided artillery ammunition. It has a firing range from 4.5 to 40 km and a high level of accuracy with the LU family. In direct firing mode, the maximum range is 2 km.
US military is already using lessons from the war in Ukraine for training soldiers: report
Sarah Al-Arshani – April 16, 2022
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine featured a disinformation campaign and attacks on civilian areas.
The US is already using those lessons in army training for possible future wars, The AP reported.
US Army Secretary Christine Wormuth said the whole military is trying to learn lessons from Ukraine.
US Army trainers are already using lessons from Russia’s war in Ukraine to train soldiers for potential future conflicts with adversaries like Russia or China, The Associated Press reported.
“I think right now the whole Army is really looking at what’s happening in Ukraine and trying to learn lessons,” Army Secretary Christine Wormuth told The AP.
According to The AP, this month’s training at National Training Center involves role-players that speak Russian. The scenario’s focus is on enemy forces that use social media to create propaganda about US troops as well as forces that use missiles in their effort to take over cities.
Wormuth told The AP that the crisis in Ukraine shows how important the information domain is going to be for US forces.
Brig. Gen. Curt Taylor said that the goal is to train brigades on how to use all their tools in combat to wage a coordinated attack, including countering misinformation online.
Another part of the training will focus on dealing with an enemy that’s willing to use missiles to strike civilian areas, The AP reported.
Russia has attacked hospitals, and apartment buildings, among other civilian buildings. Ukraine, alongside numerous other countries, has accused Russia of war crimes in the targetting of civilian areas.
“We’ve got to be prepared for urban combat where we have an adversary that is indiscriminately firing artillery,” Taylor said.
Stridsvagn 122: The Powerful Tank From Sweden That Russia Hates
By Brent Eastwood – April 4, 2022
Swedish soldiers with the Wartofta Tank Company, Skaraborg Regiment in a Stridsvagn 122 main battle tank conduct the defensive operations lane during the Strong Europe Tank Challenge, June 7, 2018. U.S. Army Europe and the German Army co-host the third Strong Europe Tank Challenge at Grafenwoehr Training Area, June 3 – 8, 2018. The Strong Europe Tank Challenge is an annual training event designed to give participating nations a dynamic, productive and fun environment in which to foster military partnerships, form Soldier-level relationships, and share tactics, techniques and procedures. (U.S. Army photo by Gertrud Zach)
Sweden’s Stridsvagn 122 Main Battle Tank Comes to Focus After the Russian Invasion of Ukraine – Sweden is not the first country you think of when it comes to armored maneuver warfare. But they do have a main battle tank, based on a German Leopard import, that serves the Swedish army well. The Stridsvagn 122 has some enviable characteristics for the Scandinavian country that is now taking the possibility of joining NATO seriously since the Russian invasion of Ukraine. New Swedish conscripted troops are being trained on the Stridsvagn 122, which shows the Swedes are executing home defense in a more earnest fashion.
Ukraine Jumpstarts Swedish Stridsvagn 122 Readiness
The Swedes began planning their own combat training activities late last year as the Russians increased their military build-up on the Ukrainian border. They started removing some of the rust from their armored maneuver battalions that hadn’t trained on the Stridsvagn 122 in years.
Get Those New Soldiers Trained on the Tank
For example, the Swedish Gotland Regiment had not trained in a live-fire exercise with the Stridsvagn 122 since 2000. That’s an astonishing lack of training and shows that the Swedes have been neglecting realistic military maneuvers for new troops. So, it took the War in Ukraine to wake up the Swedish army.
The Swedish Army also began supplementing the Stridsvagn 122 with new ammunition recently. In a $27 million deal, the Swedes just ordered new Israeli M339 tank projectiles that are manufactured by Elbit Systems. It’s a step up for the Stridsvagn 122 that needed to happen.
According to Yehuda Vered, the general manager of Elbit Systems, “The M339 not only meets the requirements of the Swedish army but will significantly improve the accuracy and firepower of the Swedish main battle tank Stridsvagn 122 when operating on the battlefield and hit different types enemy targets,” he told Boyko Nikolov of BulgarianMilitary.com on March 21 of this year.
Good Thing It’s Based on German Technology
The Stridsvagn 122 entered the Swedish military in 1996 and by 1998 there were 180 tanks. It’s based on the Leopard 2A5 Main Battle Tank. That was a good move by the Swedes to pick such a tried-and-true platform. The significant benefit of the Leopard 2A5 is that it provided the Stridsvagn 122 with modern armor on the hull and turret. It also borrowed from the French a top-notch survivability system that can sense an infrared anti-tank missile and fire infrared decoys to spoof the incoming missile.
Internal Controls Have Been Modernized
The 68-ton Stridsvagn 122 is known for digital fire controls and an encrypted radio and internal comms system. The tank commander has his own computer terminal. The driver has a video monitor and there is a state-of-the-art navigation system.
Top of the Turret Armor Is Improved
The Swedish main battle tank has improved armor along the top of the turret which is a weakness for many tanks when anti-tank guided missiles use a deadly downward trajectory attack angle. The fire control system has been modernized as well over the original Leopard platform.
Stridsvagn 122 – Nothing Wrong With Its Engine or Firepower
It retains the twin-turbo diesel engine from the Leopard with a hefty 1,500 horsepower. There is a 120mm smoothbore main gun. A 7.62mm coaxial machine gun and a 7.62mm anti-aircraft machine gun is included.
The tank is made for the frontlines and to excel in tank-on-tank warfare, plus it is able to survive against improvised explosive devices and anti-tank mines.
There is much to admire about the Stridsvagn 122. Leopard tanks are known for reliability and survivability. There is ample firepower. The fire controls, navigation, and internal and external comms are up to date. The new Israeli projectiles will help even more.
A Swedish leopard 2 tank (Strv 122) on exercises, taken in Sweden, February 16th 2006. Taken with a canon 350D.
But the Swedes need to beef up the numbers of troops who are qualified to operate their main battle tank. They must increase the operational tempo and practice realistic training in all weather and in night and day conditions. They will need to show they can complete live fire and maneuverability exercises, ideally against “red team” opposing forces that can be comparable to the rehearsals that tank forces in NATO countries execute.
If they can conduct this type of training, the Stridsvagn 122 will be the main battle tank that can better accomplish home defense missions for the Swedes.
Now serving as 1945s New Defense and National Security Editor, Brent M. Eastwood, PhD, is the author of Humans, Machines, and Data: Future Trends in Warfare. He is an Emerging Threats expert and former U.S. Army Infantry officer.
Voice of the people: Truth and facts can be become of matter of life and death
The Ledger – March 29, 2022
Truth and facts can be become of matter of life and death
Reporting from journalists has indicated that as much as 60% of Russians do not believe that Vladimir Putin has attacked Ukraine and is bombing and killing Ukrainian citizens. This means that we should not count on the Russian people to remove Putin from power.
A Russian child in Ukraine was told by parents back in Russia that this attack and killing of Ukrainians is not true. Russian state media has conditioned its citizens to believe its version of invasion.
Hard to believe? Here in America, tens of millions of our citizens believe the last presidential election was stolen from the incumbent. Latching on to the Big Lie cost the lives of a number of people during the insurrection at our Capitol Jan. 6. In addition, the same lack of truth and facts puts dozens of public officials in harm’s way from the supporters of the Big Lie.
Some elements of our media are in the same business as the Russian state media, spreading misinformation to advance their causes. The truth and facts can be become of matter of life and death, especially with regard to the life of our democracy.
Russia ‘losing more ground’ as Ukrainians ‘reclaim towns and positions near Kyiv’
Ellen Manning – March 25, 2022
Russian forces are losing ground in Ukraine, allowing the country’s own forces to reclaim certain key towns and positions just 20 miles from Kyiv, according to the UK’s Ministry of Defence (MoD).
Ukrainian counter-attacks and issues with Russian supply lines are both allowing Ukraine to retake towns and defensive positions up to 21 miles (35km) east of Kyiv, the MoD said in an intelligence update.
In its intelligence update posted on Twitter on Friday (25 March), the MoD said: “Ukrainian counter-attacks, and Russian forces falling back on overextended supply lines, has allowed Ukraine to reoccupy towns and defensive positions up to 35 kilometres east of Kyiv.
“Ukrainian forces are likely to continue to attempt to push Russian forces back along the north-western axis from Kyiv towards Hostomel Airfield.
“In the south of Ukraine, Russian forces are still attempting to circumvent Mykolaiv as they look to drive west towards Odesa, with their progress being slowed by logistic issues and Ukrainian resistance.”
Watch: Kyiv mayor Vitali Klitschko says he cries ‘every day’ at destruction Putin has caused. https://s.yimg.com/rx/martini/builds/42201637/executor.html
Exiled Russian human rights activist, Vladimir Osechkin, said information from an unnamed source within Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) suggested unrest is growing within the service.
Osechkin, who is wanted in Russia for his work exposing abuse in Russia’s prisons, told The Times Putin is being blamed for Russia’s inability to claim Ukraine, and senior figures are beginning to become disillusioned with the war over increasingly oppressive sanctions brought in by the West which are biting at the lives of ordinary Russians.
Ukraine’s Mariupol says Russia forcefully deported thousands of its people
March 19, 2022
(Reuters) – The city council of Ukraine’s Mariupol said Russian forces forcefully deported several thousand people from the besieged city last week, after Russia had spoken of “refugees” arriving from the strategic port.
“Over the past week, several thousand Mariupol residents were deported onto the Russian territory,” the council said in a statement on its Telegram channel late on Saturday.
“The occupiers illegally took people from the Livoberezhniy district and from the shelter in the sports club building, where more than a thousand people (mostly women and children) were hiding from the constant bombing.”
Reuters could not independently verify the claims.
Russia’s Defence Ministry said busses carrying people it called refugees from Mariupol began to arrive to Russia on Tuesday, Russian news agency RIA Novosti reported last week. The ministry was not immediately available to comment on the Mariupol city council’s claims.
Some 400,000 people have been trapped in Mariupol, on the Sea of Azov, for more than two weeks, sheltering from heavy bombardment that has severed central supplies of electricity, heating and water, according to local authorities.
The Russian TASS news agency reported on Saturday that 13 busses were moving to Russia, carrying more than 350 people, about 50 of whom were to be sent by rail to the Yaroslavl region and the rest to temporary transition centres in Taganrog, a port city in Russia’s Rostov region.
Russia’s Defence Ministry said this month that Russia had prepared 200 busses to “evacuate” Mariupol citizens.
RIA Novosti agency, citing emergency services, reported last week that nearly 300,000 people, including some 60,000 children, have arrived in Russia from the Luhansk and Donbas regions, including from Mariupol, in recent weeks.
Russia’s Defence Ministry said this month that more than 2.6 million people in Ukraine have asked to be evacuated.
Reuters could not immediately verify those reports.
Mariupol, a key connection to the Black Sea, has been a target since the start of the war on Feb. 24, when Russian President Vladimir Putin launched what he calls a “special military operation” to demilitarise and “denazify” Ukraine. Ukraine and the West say Putin launched an unprovoked war of aggression.
As Russia has sought to seize most of Ukraine’s southern coast, Mariupol has assumed great importance, lying between the Russian-annexed peninsula of Crimea to the west and the Donetsk region to the east, which is partially controlled by pro-Russian separatists.
(Reporting by Lidia Kelly; Editing by William Mallard)
A truck carrying Russian troops crashes, its doors blown open by a rocket-propelled grenade. Foreign-supplied drones target Russian command posts. Orthodox priests in trailing vestments parade Ukraine’s blue and yellow flag in defiance of their Russian captors in the occupied city of Berdyansk.
Russia has lost hundreds of tanks, many left charred or abandoned along the roads, and its death toll is on a pace to outstrip that of the country’s previous military campaigns in recent years.
Yet more than three weeks into the war, with Putin’s initial aim of an easy change in government in Kyiv long gone, Russia’s military still has a strong hand. With their greater might and stockpile of city-flattening munitions, Russian forces can fight on for whatever the Russian president may plan next, whether leveraging a negotiated settlement or brute destruction, military analysts say.
Despite all the determination of Ukraine’s people, all the losses among Russia’s forces and all the errors of Kremlin leaders, there is no sign that the war will soon be over. Even if Putin fails to take control of his neighbor, he can keep up the punishing attacks on its cities and people. Ukraine’s president said Russia is trying to starve Ukraine’s cities into submission and that Putin is deliberately creating “a humanitarian catastrophe.”
“His instinct will be always to double down because he’s got himself into a dreadful mess, a huge strategic blunder,” said Michael Clarke, former head of the British-based Royal United Services Institute, a defense think tank.
“And I don’t think it’s in his character to try to retrieve that, except by carrying on, going forward,” he said.
At the start, Russians thought “they would install, you know, some pro-Russian government and call it a day and declare victory,” said Dmitry Gorenburg, a researcher on Russia’s security at the Virginia-based CNA think tank. “That was sort of Plan A, and as near as we can tell, they didn’t really have a Plan B.”
Russia’s first apparent plan — attack key Ukrainian military targets, and make a quick run to Kyiv, the capital — failed immediately. It was foiled by Ukraine’s defenses along with the countless mistakes and organizational failures by a Russian force that had been told it was only mobilized for military drills.
Clarke, the British researcher, related accounts of Russian troops selling communication equipment and fuel out of military vehicles to locals during the weeks they waited on Ukraine’s borders.
Putin’s forces are in position to capture the besieged port city of Mariupol. Overall, Russians appear to be fighting with three objectives now: to surround Kyiv, to encircle spread-out Ukrainian fighters in the east and to break through to the major port city of Odessa in the west, said Michael Kofman, an expert on the Russian military and program director at CNA.
Kofman cautions that much of the information on the war is coming from Ukrainians or from their American or other allies. That makes the partial picture skewed and a full picture impossible.
A senior U.S. defense official on Friday said the Russians have launched more than 1,080 missiles since the start of the war and that they retain about 90% of the combat power they had arrayed around Ukraine at the beginning of the invasion.
The U.S. assesses that the airspace over Ukraine remains contested, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss the military assessments. The Ukrainian air force is continuing to fly aircraft and employ air and missile defenses..
“Just look at the map, and you just look at how little progress the Russians have been able to make,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said recently.
The math of military conquests and occupation may be against Putin in Ukraine.
Estimates of Russian deaths vary widely. Yet even conservative figures are in the low thousands. That’s a much faster pace than in previous Russian offensives, threatening support for the war among ordinary Russians. Russia had 64 deaths in five days of fighting during its 2008 war with Georgia. It lost about 15,000 in Afghanistan over 10 years, and more than 11,000 over years of fighting in Chechnya.
Russia’s number of dead and wounded in Ukraine is nearing the 10% benchmark of diminished combat effectiveness, Gorenburg said. The reported battlefield deaths of four Russian generals — out of an estimated 20 in the fight — signal impaired command, he said.
Researchers tracking only those Russian equipment losses that were photographed or recorded on video say Russia has lost more than 1,500 tanks, trucks, mounted equipment and other heavy gear. Two out of three of those were captured or abandoned, signaling the failings of the Russian troops that let them go.
Meanwhile, Russia needs to limit its use of smart, long-range missiles in case they’re needed in any larger war with NATO, military analysts say. On Saturday, the Russian military said it has used its latest hypersonic missile for the first time in combat, claiming that the Kinzhal, with a range of up to 2,000 kilometers (about 1,250 miles), destroyed an underground warehouse storing Ukrainian missiles and aviation ammunition.
When it comes to the grinding job of capturing and holding cities, conventional military metrics suggest Russia needs a 5-to-1 advantage in urban fighting, analysts say. Meanwhile, the formula for ruling a restive territory in the face of armed opposition is 20 fighters for every 1,000 people — or 800,000 Russian troops for Ukraine’s more than 40 million people, Clarke notes. That’s almost as many as Russia’s entire active-duty military of 900,000.
On the ground, that means controlling any substantial chunk of Ukrainian territory long term would take more resources than Russia could foreseeably commit.
Other Russian options remain possible, including a negotiated settlement. Moscow is demanding that Ukraine formally embrace neutrality, thus swearing off any alliance with NATO, and recognize the independence of the separatist regions in the east and Russian sovereignty over Crimea, which Russia annexed in 2014.
Russia’s other options include an unrelenting air campaign in which it bombs and depopulates cities as it did in Chechnya and Syria. U.S. officials also warn of the risk of Russian chemical attacks, and the threat of escalation to nuclear war.
“Unless the Russians intend to be completely genocidal — they could flatten all the major cities, and Ukrainians will rise up against Russian occupation — there will be just constant guerrilla war” if Russian troops remain, Clarke said.
Associated Press writer Lolita C. Baldor contributed to this report.