Russian Forces Have Lost 33% Of Original Combat Force In Ukraine

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The U.K. Ministry of Defense has shared a new set of dire (for Russia, that is) assessments about the current state of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s combat force in Ukraine. “Russia has now likely suffered losses of one third of the ground combat force it committed in February,” the ministry said, adding: “Under the current conditions, Russia is unlikely to dramatically accelerate its rate of advance over the next 30 days.”

“Russia has failed to achieve substantial territorial gains over the past month whilst sustaining consistently high levels of attrition,” that U.K. authority added. The British defense ministry also cited “continued low morale and reduced combat effectiveness” as among the invading Russian force’s problems. Despite these substantial setbacks for the Russian military, Putin’s regime is standing by the violence — there’s been no apparent indication of Russian forces just stopping their offensives. But Ukraine has scored substantial battlefield successes against the Russians at a steady pace: recently, Ukrainian forces struck a large grouping of Russian troops trying to cross the Siverskyi Donets River, which partially sits in the eastern portions of Ukraine. Per The New York Times, “estimates based on publicly available evidence now [suggest] that well over 400 Russian soldiers were killed or wounded” in the incident.

Russians also appear to have lost dozens of armored vehicles just in that confrontation with Ukrainian troops. Forbes identified the hit as destroying “at least seven T-72 and T-80 tanks, 17 BMPs, seven MT-LB armored tractors, five other vehicles and much of the bridging unit itself, including a tugboat and the pontoon span.” As previously reported here, for Russia to have lost all those vehicles in a single confrontation with Ukraine seems to indicate that the entire battalion was apparently left out-of-service, since what was left seemed below the level required for operations — although there are obviously opportunities for Russia to reorganize and seek to replenish their forces. And according to Ukraine’s Southern Operational Command, the country’s forces launched over 100 strikes on Russian troops located across southern Ukraine on May 12, which was Thursday, showcasing a resolute, expansive defense by Ukraine’s troops against the Russian onslaught.

Adding to the strategic setbacks for Russia, Sweden and Finland have now both seen their leaders indicate an intention to apply for membership in NATO, which would further expand the prominent military alliance including the United States that rests in significant part on a commitment to mutual defense. If a member country is attacked, other members pledge to come to that country’s assistance. As Sweden and Finland work through the application process, the U.S. and U.K. have provided guarantees that they’ll assist with the country’s security, although the agreements aren’t of the same binding, comprehensive nature as NATO membership. And understandably, many details of what these security arrangements entail aren’t publicly available. For Finland and Sweden to become NATO members could take up to a year.