Irony could win the day if Russian president Putin experiences a medical complication as anomalous as Alexei Navalny’s poisoned underpants.

Ukraine has seemed to have blunted most Russian advances. 25% of Russian forces have been made battle ineffective. 600 Russian tanks have been lost. 70 of 90 M777 US howitzers have arrived in country. Combat continues and disinformation abounds. Azovstal still occupies the attention of 3-5 BTGs that would normally be deployed to the east. Two Russian patrol boats have been destroyed by drone strikes. Casualty numbers are still far too inaccurate but using a variety of official reports, the Russians have definitely sustained much higher losses than the Ukrainians at a rate at least proportional to their depleted combat capacity. 

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  • “Russia’s offensive energy seems to be fading. Last week they lost at least 10 BTGs worth of equipment. That’s really significant. More difficult to assess how many KIAs but it can’t be good. Under these circumstances they can’t retain the offensive pace.” 
  • “There are signs of Russian desperation. It’s not adequate for a top commander such as Gen. Valery Gerasimov [Russia’s chief of the general staff] to lead units on the ground himself. It is fairly certain that he stayed there last week, Thursday through Saturday…” 
  • “This means he wasn’t satisfied with the progress and went to take charge himself. This didn’t help at all.” 
  • “Russia has had the most progress near Zaporizhzhia but Ukraine has now been able to stop that as well. Russian advances near Izyum, Severodonetsk and Slovyansk have been extremely minimal and have come with heavy losses.” 
  • “Ukraine has had success in Kharkiv. The north side has been deblocked. The Russians can still shell the city only from the east. It might still have hold of the Belgorod-Izyum highway but Ukraine has the highway on artillery range. The Russian supply line is not safe.” 
  • “Ten days ago there was a threat of the Russians’ surrounding Severodonetsk. There is no sign of anything as such happening now.” 
  • “Russia’s massive losses, such as 40 tanks a day, still allowed them to advance only 2-3 km a day. There is no sign that they’re bringing in new units or equipment. There has been no such movement in several days.” 
  • “Expect Ukrainian counter-offensives to scale up but I don’t want to speculate on when. In Kyiv it started 1.5 to 2 weeks after Russia’s strong offense stopped. According to that logic, there are still 1.5 weeks to go.” 
  • “Ukrainian counter-offensives will not be so large-scale. They will need to go carefully so as not to weaken themselves so much that they’d need to retreat. We can expect counterattacks as in Kharkiv soon also in Izyum, Severodonetsk.” 
  • “Russia’s main strength has been forcing Ukraine to leave ground with massive artillery fire. Ukraine has already received but maybe not deployed Western-supplied artillery that has a larger range than Russia’s. Ukraine will soon be able to shell Russian artillery positions.” 
  • “Russian units in Moldova don’t have capability to change the situation in Ukraine but the risk is related to them going against Moldova. Doubtful if they could succeed even against an extremely weak Moldovan army. Doubtful, too, if Ukraine and Romania would allow it to happen.” 
  • “It is also questionable if Transnistria’s elite would allow this. They have been able to export to the EU through Moldova and there is a certain degree of economic integration between Transnistria and Moldova.” 
  • “Today is the anniversary of the 2014 Odessa Trade Union Building fire. No serious related provocations or terrorist acts have been recorded so far. The Ukrainian SBU has kept a close eye on this.” 
  • “Russia’s targeting Ukraine’s infrastructure, supply lines has had an effect but the railway network in Central Ukraine is so dense, it allows rerouting. The Zatoka bridge (bombed 2 or 3 times now) isn’t important militarily but it breaks Ukraine’s trade line to Romanian ports.” 
  • “It’s noteworthy that there have been increased attacks on infrastructure and military objects inside Russia. It’s fairly certain that at least in Kursk, Belgorod and Bryansk that has been Ukraine’s work. War is reaching Russia’s homes, it’s no longer just a TV war for them.” 
  • “Also noteworthy is Russia’s childish mistakes such as leaving the Snake Island patrol boats as open targets or Lavrov’s statement on Jews. Israel has kept a very low profile until now but such statements didn’t leave them an option but to react.” 
  • “Russia will not get a notable win before May 9. A theoretical chance that there could be an agreement that Ukrainian troops leave Mariupol before that. They would need to be able to leave with guns in hands…” 
  • “Can Putin show this as a win if they’ve already long ago declared conquering the city?” 
  • “It would be emotionally important for Ukraine not to let the troops still in Azovstal die in the end of hunger. Such an agreement would allow Russia to move around 3-5 BTGs. Such agreement is possible but unlikely before May 9.” 
  • “Putin has a few very bad hands to play. He can’t afford losing the war. One option is general mobilization which would be a blow to the economy. The reserve units would need training and equipment that they don’t have. Takes a lot of time.” 
  • “I can’t exclude that he will use a tactical nuclear weapon. The risk for him: Russia’s General Staff will tell him to fuck off. Then he’d be a dictator without an instrument of power. It would be the end for him…” 
  • “Militarily neither of the options would make sense but would hasten the end of the war.” 
  • “It’s unclear how bad the losses for Ukraine have been. Earlier estimates said 2,500-3,000 men. By now this can be doubled. Such losses should still be manageable for Kyiv.” 
  • “The thing to watch out for: talks in the West about the importance of peace while not saying anything about the aggressor. Considering what Russia is doing in Ukraine, such talk is a cynical crime…” 
  • “Peace is not the most important thing right now but chasing the aggressor out of the country is.” 
  • /END 

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www.understandingwar.org/…

Russian forces did not conduct any confirmed ground attacks in Ukraine on May 2. The April 30 Ukrainian artillery strike on the Russian command post in Izyum may be continuing to disrupt Russian efforts on the Izyum axis. Russian troops on the Donetsk-Luhansk frontline and Southern Axis continued to regroup, likely in preparation for renewed offensives or to resist or reverse Ukrainian counter-offensives.

www.understandingwar.org/…

Key Takeaways

  • Russian forces did not conduct any confirmed ground attacks along any axes of advance and instead shelled Ukrainian positions on the frontlines.
  • The April 30 Ukrainian artillery strike on Russian command headquarters near Izyum likely disrupted Russian operations on the Izyum axis and may hinder Russian offensives from Izyum for the next few days.
  • Russian forces on the Southern Axis continued to regroup and reconnoiter likely in preparation for ground assaults in the direction of Kryvyi Rih, Mykolaiv, and Zaporizhia.
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  • Main effort—Eastern Ukraine (comprised of two subordinate supporting efforts);
  • Supporting effort 1—Kharkiv and Izyum;
  • Supporting effort 2—Southern axis;
  • Supporting effort 3—Sumy and northeastern Ukraine.
Supporting Effort #1—Kharkiv and Izyum: (Russian objective: Advance southeast to support Russian operations in Luhansk Oblast; defend ground lines of communication (GLOCs) to the Izyum axis)
Russian forces continued to regroup and conduct unspecified offensive operations in the Izyum area, but did not make any confirmed advances on May 2.[10] The April 30 Ukrainian rocket artillery strike on the Russian Airborne (VDV) and 2nd Combined Arms Army command post in the Izyum area may be continuing to disrupt Russian operations along the Izyum axis.
Russian troops, including elements of the 6th Combined Arms Army and Baltic and Pacific Fleet coastal troops, continued to shell Kharkiv City and surrounding settlements.[11] Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Malyar notably stated that Ukrainian forces suffered significant losses when they took control of Ruska Lozova (less than 10 kilometers north of Kharkiv City), suggesting that Russian troops saw sufficient value in this location to fight hard to hold it.[12] www.understandingwar.org/…

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Subordinate Main Effort—Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts (Russian objective: Capture the entirety of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts, the claimed territory of Russia’s proxies in Donbas)
Russian forces shelled along the Donetsk-Luhansk frontline and did not conduct any confirmed ground attacks on May 2.[4] Russian troops continued to focus on completing the seizure of Rubizhne and Popasna.[5] The Ukrainian General Staff forecasts that Russian troops will likely attempt to use these points to launch an offensive in the direction of Severodonetsk.[6] The Ukrainian General Staff also stated that Russian forces moved one battalion tactical group (BTG) to the Popasna area to improve their tactical position and prepare to advance toward Severodonetsk.[7] The Ukrainian General Staff observed that Russian troops are setting conditions to advance on Slovyansk from the Lyman-Siversk frontline, which lies within 25 km to the east of Slovyansk.[8] This observation is consistent with ISW’s previous reporting of Russian troops making marginal southwestward advances around the Yampil area over the last few days.[9] www.understandingwar.org/…

Supporting Effort #2—Southern Axis (Objective: Defend Kherson against Ukrainian counterattacks)
Russian forces continued to regroup, reconnoiter, and concentrate logistics on May 2, likely in preparation for ground assaults on Ukrainian position in the directions of Mykolaiv, Kryvyi Rih, and Zaporizhia.[13] The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Russian forces deployed an unspecified artillery unit to Tokmak that will likely support Russian attempts to seize Orihiv, Zaporizhia Oblast.[14] Orihiv is on the intersection of several major highways, and its seizure could allow Russian forces to push toward Zaporizhia city as well as Donetsk. Russian forces also reportedly established an equipment repair shop in an occupied Zaporizhia Oblast settlement.[15]
Ukraine’s Operational Command “South” said that Russian forces did not attempt ground offensives in southern Ukraine on May 2 but conducted periodic artillery and mortar shelling and reportedly launched a third rocket strike on the bridge leading over the Dniester Estuary to Romania.[16] Ukrainian forces claimed to have struck Russian ammunition depots in Chornobaivka, Kherson Oblast, on May 2; a video post on social media may corroborate that claim, but ISW cannot verify it with greater confidence.[17] Ukrainian forces also destroyed two Russian Raptor-class patrol boats that reconnoitered the Danube River delta on May 2.[18] There were no significant situational changes in Transnistria.[19] www.understandingwar.org/…

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Additional detail so that you can follow values for captures and new equipment deliveries to Ukraine. Excuse the formatting

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Summary
OSINT % losses of Russian Committed (Russian total) vs Ukrainian total
Personnel 35.3(7.4) vs 8.3
Armor 47.2(10.1) vs 12
Tanks 48.8(18) vs 12.3
Artillery 14.7(4.2) vs 3.4
Aircraft 7.9(1.9) vs 16
Helicopters 16.3(4.1) vs 8.1 
Scale of claims vs observations
Russian claims of Ukrainian loss % vs OSINT observed loss % (factor)
Personnel 13.4* vs 8.3 (1.6x) *RU claim now 2 weeks old
Armor + Tanks 66.5 vs 12.1 (5.5x)
Artillery 74.1 vs 3.4 (21.8x)
Aircraft 100+ vs 16 (6.3x)
Helicopter 100+ vs 8.1 (12.3x) 
Scale of claims vs observations
UKR claims of RU(Cmtd) loss % vs OSINT observed loss % (factor)
Personnel 50 vs 35.3 (1.4x)
Armor 83.3 vs 47.2 (1.8x)
Tanks 83.8 vs 48.8 (1.7x)
Artillery 37.4 vs 14.7 (2.5x)
Aircraft 58.2 vs 7.9 (7.4x)
Helicopters 64.6 vs 16.3 (4x) 
Concept
When competing claims are made for losses, setting these claims against each other can narrow the range that actual numbers should lie within. Claims form a maximum and admissions form a minimum. NATO has stated that it uses a similar approach in forming its estimates
Examination of open source intelligence such as photos of equipment losses can further narrow the range or provide insight into which claims are closest to confirmable numbers. There are MANY limits to how much value this range has. This is not a predictive tool. 
If you fail to make reference to open source evidence, you wind up with analysis like this

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Setting the claimed and open source observed numbers into the context of total force size adds meaning. You probably did not know how many armored vehicles Russia has committed, other than “a lot” 
Interpretation
Some sources update and data was collected at May 1, 10 pm EST. Not an expert. OSINT source relies on photo evidence and is an undercount. Local reporting is believed to report a smaller % of UKR losses. 
Perform your own evaluation of the reliability of any information source you come across. I have tried to use reliable sources, but they do represent a range of reliability. Note that I used my own judgment in choosing among the personnel loss estimates

These numbers do not reflect motivation, leadership, terrain, weather, support of allies. These equipment numbers also do not reflect levels of crew training, equipment readiness or maintenance quality. All of which will have significant impact beyond what these numbers can show. 
Other sources of error, such as losses behind enemy lines that cannot be photographed exist. There are some people attempting to put numbers on these unknown quantities. I do not include them because they cannot be independently confirmed. 
Attempts to correct for known Errors
Here is an attempt to quantify losses that cannot be photographed because they occurred behind enemy lines.

For example, photographs show yards near Belgorod, Russia used to hold damaged and destroyed equipment. It is possible that these losses would not have been previously added to OSINT counts

There are undoubtedly many losses in places like Mariupol that have not been well documented
 

Likewise, some abandoned locations that hold equipment may not have been documented. Equipment at a repair factory
 

Abandoned Ukrainian equipment at a base 

Here is an attempt to correct the Russian force estimates downwards to account for lack of care and maintenance of equipment, corruption and other factors

Consider the pictures of armored vehicles that are ‘in storage’. I have not included ‘in storage’ figures in any of the force totals. If you look at the pages under Major Source 5, you can see some of the ‘in storage’ figures for reference

An interesting indirect way to get insight into equipment availability is what is available for use in the May 9 Victory Day parades in Moscow and in various regions

Major Sources 01/
Ukrainian claims of Russian losses minusrus.com/en includes the Ukrainian estimates of both committed and total Russian forces

Total combat losses of Russia since the beginning of the war with Ukraine

Major Sources 2/
Russian claims of Ukrainian losses  
rutube.ru/video/2fe2af28…
OSINT source has a processing backlog, on April 30 estimated at just over 200 pieces of equipment

Major Sources 4/

Ukrainian force estimates from The Military Balance 2022

Major Sources 5/

Russian force estimates from The Military Balance 2022. The stated Russian total force numbers from minusrus com are very similar to values from The Military Balance 2022 within 5%

Updates
Updates repositioning and equipment resupply were getting too big to include in one thread. Please read them here. They form the backdrop within which personnel losses are considered
May 1 updates

April 24 updates

Russia: Personnel 1/
Personnel is the most complicated loss figure. It required its own thread to discuss factors. Please read it if you want to see context for the numbers
Russian Personnel thread 2

Russian Personnel thread 1

Russia: Personnel 2/
The Mar 25 RU admissions set a minimum bound of 5,176 casualties. NATO estimates of 10k-15k KIA. US estimates of 10k KIA on March 30. Ukraine is using a simple 3:1 wounded:KIA ratio. The admitted Russian ratio is 2.8:1 (Mar 25)

Russia: Personnel 3/
BBC Russia has now reported that they have confirmed the deaths of 1,899 Russian soldiers via public announcements, which exceeds the official Russian figure

Russia: Personnel 4/
It is likely that Russian losses continue to rise, despite no new specific estimates. The US has continued to update its estimate of loss of Russian combat capability from just above 80% on April 12 to 75% on April 21.

Russia: Personnel 5/
Kremlin spokesman Peskov also described that Russia has suffered “significant losses” of troops and that it was “huge tragedy” for Russia

Russia: Personnel 6/
UKR claim 95,000 (23,500; 70,500; 1000) (KIA; wounded; POW)
95,000/190,000 = 50% cmtd
95,000/900,000 = 10.6% total 
My evaluation is 16,500 Russian KIA. 
OS 67,000 (16,500; x3=49,500; 1000(per UKR))
67,000/190,000 = 35.3% cmtd
67,000/900,000 = 7.4% total 
Ukraine: Personnel 1/
Total regular force was 196,600 (IISS 2022) before invasion. Russia asserts that “at the start of the special military operation, the armed forces of Ukraine, together with the National Guard, numbered 260,200 servicemen”

Ukraine: Personnel 2/
“We have brought the additional reserves of more than 100,000 people. Currently, the whole country joined the efforts against the aggressor” – Oleksandr Motuzyanyk, Ukraine Defense Ministry spokesman, March 26, 2022 per Anadolu Agency

Ukraine: Personnel 3/
The addition of 100,000 new personnel to the Ukrainian forces is plausible. Ukraine had 900,000 people with prior military service within the last 5 years per The Military Balance. Therefore, I increased Ukrainian personnel by 100,000 to 296,600 on April 24 
Ukraine: Personnel 4/
On April 15, President Zelensky admitted to 2,500-3,000 Ukrainian soldiers killed and 10,000 wounded

A US official said on March 10 that 2,000-4,000 Ukrainian troops have been killed

Ukraine: Personnel 5/
On April 16 the Russian Ministry of Defense made a claim for Ukrainian personnel losses of 23,367 killed. There was no estimate of wounded at the time. A previous Russian statement claimed 16,000 wounded. I combine these statements

Ukraine: Personnel 6/
Zelensky’s April 15 admission of losses is still below the US estimate from more than a month ago. I will provide a personal estimate since official estimates appear to be outdated. My estimate is intentionally conservative to yield a larger possible range 
Ukraine: Personnel 7/
RU claim
Russia has not made any new claims of Ukrainian personnel losses that I am aware of since April 16
39,867 (23,367,000; 16,000; 500)(KIA; wounded; POW)
39,867/296,600 = 13.4% 
Ukraine: Personnel 8/
My evaluation is 6,000 Ukrainian KIA and three times that number wounded 
OS 24,500 (6,000; x3=18,000; 500(per RU)) (KIA; wounded; POW)
24,500/296,600 = 8.3% 
Ukraine: Aircraft
RU claim 145/125 = 100+%
OS Photo 20/125 = 16%  
OS Expert* 70/125 = 56%
*‘roughly 55 operational fighter jets’ – Dave Deptula, Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies  nytimes.com/2022/03/22/wor…
IISS starting point of 125 jets, this implies a loss of 70 jets 

I think these are the latest time series graphs from @Lee__Drake. Check him out for updates

Ongoing visual breakdown of RU tank losses by @hippke

For a different style of visual comparison of the raw losses, check out the work by @SirBib

Methodology Notes
Captures – As there have been enough anecdotal examples of captured equipment put back into service, I have begun accounting for this on the assumption that 1/3 of equipment captured has been suitable for quick re-use. I consider this a conservative estimate. 

Ukrainian Military Aid – I have adjusted my spreadsheets to add in military aid as reported by Oryx in Major Source 3. However, most promised equipment has not yet been delivered or quantities are unknown. 
Both Russian and Ukrainian Personnel figures are subject to further update if I can find reliable sources on the evolving force levels. The new source on Ukrainian personnel additions only came to my attention last week. If you have any sources, please send them to me. 
While Russia is certainly adding personnel and equipment into the war, the quantity within Ukraine is still only estimated by the US as 92 BTGs.

Until committed force size in Ukraine clearly exceeds estimated losses or I find more specific sources on newly committed Russian forces, the committed Russian force numbers will remain the same 
Also note that Russian force numbers discussed here reflect official Russian values and do not generally include equipment of the self-proclaimed breakaway portions of Luhansk and Donetsk. 
The OSINT analysis of losses does not recognize these forces separately, therefore total Russian aligned force sizes may be slightly higher than shown.
For rough estimates of their equipment, see

The “LNR” has a staff of 14,727 people. Lugansk have 196 tanks, 357 armored vehicles, 204 artillery cannons, 105 mortars, 86 MLRS”
“DPR is 20,840 servicemen and 1,020 civilians. Tanks – 285, armored fighting vehicles – 557, guns – 240, mortars – 171, MLRS – 122 units” 
Open Source Intelligence group Bellingcat reported to the Foreign Affairs Committee of the UK Parliament that nearly 8000 fighters associated with the Russian proxy Wagner group were in Ukraine and that nearly 3000 of them had been killed

Wagner group fighters are not believed to be included in Russian force estimates, but may figure into Ukrainian claims of Russian personnel casualties. Their inclusion would increase the Russian personnel total slightly 

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2/20 It was a fascinating week for those who analyse the war in #Ukraine. First, President Biden sent a request to Congress for US$33 billion dollars in military, economic and humanitarian aid for Ukraine. Then, the US Congress approved new Lend Lease legislation. 
3/20 Additionally, US Secretary of Defense Austin described how “we want to see Russia weakened to the degree that it can’t do the kinds of things that it has done in invading Ukraine. They can win if they have the right equipment, and the right support.” 
4/20 The Russians are now struggling to make a breakthrough in their ‘anaemic’ eastern offensive. Given this, the battlefield effectiveness of the Ukrainians and the huge flow of western aid, a Ukrainian counter offensive to retake their territory is a near certainty. 
5/20 This is a nightmare scenario for the Russian military high command. Ukrainian success on the battlefield in the east and the south could mean that Russia may have to request an immediate ceasefire or withdraw its forces to its early February positions. 
6/20 Russia’s conventional forces have been found wanting in the north, and on the eastern plains of Ukraine. Henceforth, they will have little credibility as a tool of international influence (or bullying) for Russia. 
7/20 Another option to avoid total Russian failure on the battlefield is the use of chemical, biological or even nuclear weapons. These might be used to stem Russian loses by destroying concentrations of Ukrainian soldiers or perhaps to force a rapid ceasefire. 

8/20 Either way, Russia still ‘loses’. The use of weapons of mass destruction, if Russia’s generals don’t remove Putin first, would mean that Russia would be a pariah state for years, if not decades, into the future.

9/20 But, we should also remember that in the past half century, both Russia (Afghanistan) and the United States (Vietnam, Afghanistan) have lost wars without resorting to nuclear weapons. 
10/20 What of the geopolitical impacts of a Russian loss? Perhaps the biggest loser would be China. 
11/20 The Russia-China ‘friendship’ over the past several years has been constructed on a shared world view that the West is in decline & the need for a different world order than the post-World War 2 system built by the victors (which included Russia & China). 
12/20 A Russian loss would upset President Xi’s efforts to persuade other nations that there are other forms of governance that work besides Western democratic models. 
13/20 It would be a blow to Xi’s personal credibility – at home and abroad – because he invested in a relationship with a Russian President who is now a proven loser. 

14/20 And it would also have an impact on Chinese aspirations for Taiwan – Ukraine’s tenacious defence has inspired the Taiwanese, and re-energised international support for the small island democracy.

15/20 Finally, the unity achieved in Europe and many other western nations in supporting Ukraine is a setback to Xi’s narrative about the decline of the west. It has sidelined Chinese influence. 

16/20 As Craig Singleton has written recently, “Chinese President Xi Jinping has been reduced to a bystander seemingly at the mercy of decisions made not in Beijing but in Washington, Brussels, and, more importantly, Moscow.”

17/20 Even if the war ended tomorrow, Russia would be a much weaker and poorer nation than it was on 24 February. The magnitude of its losses in Ukraine – physical, moral and reputational – will take years to overcome. 
18/20 It is likely, regardless of the outcome, to be a much more embittered nation, fuelled with narratives of NATO predations on Russia, while struggling to juggle the impacts of western sanctions. This makes it weak but also dangerous. 
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19/20 While the intention of the US administration may be to weaken Russia so that it can no longer threaten its neighbours, this must be a very carefully calibrated victory. The twentieth century has examples of the right ways and wrong ways to treat defeated nations. 
20/20 We must learn from these examples. Because, if Russia (which retains nuclear weapons) is weakened too much in defeat, they may become a much more dangerous nation. And that is in none of our interests. End

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