In the first days of the invasion of Ukraine, the Russian death toll experienced another high water mark. Russian offensives have been going poorly as Ukrainian troops and their support equipment have been repulsing Russian troops.
According to the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense, this increase has occurred because they claim Russia has launched “a big offensive” in the last few days that has increased the number of troops being pushed on the front line.
This news of the death toll comes right before an expected offensive that is upcoming on February 24. This has also brought into question some of the Russian tactics that are being used to try and capture strategic areas.
Not only have the deaths of soldiers increased, but many Russian officers have been KIA as grinding Russian offensives fail to meet their objectives. Even so, Russia has seen limited success in some regions. In late January Ukrainian forces retreated from Soledar which pinned the first notable Russian victory since the invasion began.
The success did not come without a cost. Part of the reason the casualty rate is spiking is due to the positions of the Ukrainians. They have had months to reinforce their lines, establish firm supply lines, and have good positions to “fall back” on if they lose any areas. On top of this, some of the world’s top militaries are donating equipment and large portions of their defense budgets to ensure Russia is taking heavy losses.
The Russian’s have also created inadvertently created long-standing battle hardened fighters out of Ukrainian militias that had survived the initial invasion. They are increasingly more effective at fighting as they go up against less experienced foes.
Russian command staff has had just as bad of a time. They have lost 4 confirmed major generals and Ukrainians have claimed to kill another 4 major generals. For a modern battlefield, that is an extreme loss rate, especially in terms of rank and combat experience.
These are all likely factors that will play into the next steps Putin will have for the invasion. Losing command staff is generally not only demoralizing, but also dangerous to operational ability on the front lines.
On the other side, Ukraine is suffering an increase in casualties due to the nature of being on defense, but nothing like the increase the Russian’s have experienced. Many of Ukraines losses can be mitigated due to their “home” advantage and being (mostly) on the defensive.
Equipment loss is another important aspect to consider on the Ukrainian side. They are receiving slight replenishments in their equipment and their crews from foreign countries. The Russian’s are having to pull old armor to the front lines in order to have any sort of support for their ground troops. Losses will very quickly add up. Experience is much harder to replace on the battlefield than much else.
Although the exact numbers are hard to find, military maneuvers will generally be followed by losses. Both sides generally manipulate these numbers to make it seem like they are “winning”. But any battles casualty reports can give a general idea of how the battle went, who won it, and what may be next.
With the large increase in Russian casualties backed by the Ukrainian M.o.D. saying that Russian offensives have begun, it is assumed that heavy fighting is breaking out in different areas across the front lines and will likely continue into the spring time.