Combat continues with few breakthroughs. The major Russian offensive has yet to begin. While there are estimates for Russian combat power as reduced, it remains formidable as new antipersonnel munitions have been deployed. Weapons transfers to Ukraine continue. Russia has yet to attack those logistics. Disinformation continues.
A senior Russian military commander has said the goal of Russia’s new offensive is to seize control of southern Ukraine and form a land bridge to Crimea, indicating that Russia plans a permanent occupation of Ukrainian territory taken in the war.
Rustam Minnekayev, acting commander of the central military district, also told members of a defence industry forum on Friday that control over southern Ukraine would give Russia access to Transnistria, a pro-Russian breakaway region of Moldova, indicating that Russia may attack the port city of Odesa or launch an economic blockade of the area.The remarks directly contradict earlier claims from Vladimir Putin that Russia was not planning to occupy Ukrainian cities permanently and suggests the Kremlin is changing tack after its failed offensive toward Kyiv, which appeared to seek regime change.
The statement was the first by a high-ranking official about the Russian military’s goals to occupy territory as it manoeuvres for an anticipated “battle for Donbas” in Ukraine’s east.
“Since the beginning of the second phase of the special operation … one of the tasks of the Russian army is to establish full control over Donbas and southern Ukraine. This will provide a land corridor to Crimea, as well as affecting vital objects of the Ukrainian economy, Black Sea ports through which agricultural and metallurgical products are supplied to [other] countries,” Minnekayev said on Friday at the annual meeting of the Union of Defence Industry Enterprises of Russia’s Sverdlovsk region.
Crimea was annexed by Russia in 2014, a move not recognised by the international community.
- Russian forces continued to pressure Ukrainian defenders in the Azovstal facility in Mariupol.
- Ukrainian sources report that Russian troops are preparing to conduct renewed assaults on Azovstal that would likely prove costly—possibly to meet a Kremlin-imposed deadline to clear Mariupol—but ISW cannot independently confirm these reports.
- Russian forces secured limited gains northwest of Severodonetsk but remain unlikely to be able to launch massed offensive operations.
- Additional Russian forces are deploying to reinforce unsuccessful attacks on the Izyum front.
- Ukrainian civilians in occupied Kharkiv Oblast are reportedly organizing volunteer movements to resist Russian occupation measures, similar to previously documented actions in southern Ukraine.
- 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.
Main Effort—Eastern Ukraine
Subordinate Main Effort—Mariupol (Russian objective: Capture Mariupol and reduce the Ukrainian defenders)
Russian forces continued to bombard Ukrainian defenders in the Azovstal Steel Plant with artillery and air strikes and may be preparing for renewed assaults on the facility. The deputy commander of the Azov Regiment stated on April 24 that Russian Naval Infantry are preparing to launch an assault on Azovstal, and Ukrainian Presidential Adviser Oleksiy Arestovych similarly stated Russian forces are concentrating around Azovstal for an assault. ISW cannot independently confirm Russian preparations for renewed assaults against Azovstal, which would likely sustain high casualties. Russian commanders likely still seek to starve out the remaining Ukrainian defenders but may be compelled to launch a hasty assault on the facility to meet a Kremlin-imposed deadline to fully clear Mariupol. Pro-Russian telegram channels released footage of Pacific Fleet Naval Infantry troops and armor reportedly leaving Mariupol to “go further for new victories,” though ISW cannot confirm details on the specific composition and destination of Russian forces departing Mariupol.
The outrage in western countries sparked by Putin’s 24 February invasion is starting to fade. Likewise the burst of optimism that followed Ukraine’s success in repelling the Russian advance around Kyiv. Now, as Moscow begins a huge, slow-motion offensive in the east, concern grows that this conflict has no end-point and that the enormous economic and human damage that results may be permanent – and global.
The price of failure – the true cost of a Putin victory – could be staggering. It is potentially unsupportable for fractious western democracies and poorer countries alike, beset by simultaneous post-pandemic security, energy, food, inflation and climate crises. Yet out of myopic self-interest over issues such as Russian oil and gas imports, and from fear of wider escalation, western leaders duck the tough choices that could ensure Ukraine’s survival and help mitigate such ills.
David Malpass, head of the World Bank, said a “human catastrophe” loomed as an unprecedented, estimated 37% rise in food prices, caused by war-related disruption to supplies, pushed millions into poverty, increased malnutrition, and reduced funding for education and healthcare for the least well-off.
More than 5 million people have fled Ukraine in two months, and more will follow, exacerbating an international migration emergency that extends from Afghanistan to the Sahel. In drought-hit east Africa, the World Food Programme says 20 million people may face starvation this year. Putin’s war did not create the drought, but the UN warns it could hurt efforts to reduce global heating, thereby triggering further displacement and forced migration.
The broader, negative political impact of the war, should it rage on indefinitely, is almost incalculable. The UN’s future as an authoritative global forum, lawmaker and peacekeeper is in jeopardy, as more than 200 former officials warned Guterres last week. At risk, too, is the credibility of the international court of justice, whose injunction to withdraw was scorned by Putin, and the entire system of war crimes prosecutions.
In terms of democratic norms and human rights, the full or partial subjugation of Ukraine would spell disaster for the international rules-based order – and a triumph for autocrats everywhere. What message would it send, for example, to China over Taiwan, or indeed to Putin as he covets the vulnerable Baltic republics? Islamist terrorists who now furtively plot to exploit the west’s Ukraine distraction would relish such a victory for violence.
Failure to stop the war, rescue Ukraine and punish Russia’s rogue regime to the fullest extent possible would come at an especially high price for Europe and the EU. In prospect is a second cold war with permanent Nato bases on Russia’s borders, massively increased defence spending, an accelerating nuclear arms race, unceasing cyber and information warfare, endemic energy shortages, rocketing living costs, and more French-style, Russian-backed rightwing populist extremism.
Let’s get real. For all its heroism and sacrifice, Ukraine may lose this fight. Dreadful though it sounds, Putin could win. If the west so abandons its principles and values to let that happen, the long-term price, for everyone, will be a whole new world of pain.
April 24 Full update to thread 🧵 on estimates of #Russia and #Ukraine losses compared to available forces, using RU and UKR claims along with the best available #OSINT observations and estimates
I have decided to include a graphic with a more complete picture of my spreadsheet, as there are now columns for captured equipment and military aid. In order to allow people to follow the process. I’m working out the best way to present this. Please excuse the graphics quality
OSINT % losses of Russian Committed (Russian total) vs Ukrainian total
Personnel 33.2(7) vs 7.6
Armor 45.5(9.5) vs 11.7
Tanks 45(16.6) vs 14.2
Artillery 14.3(4) vs 3.6
Aircraft 7.3(1.7) vs 15.2
Helicopters 15(3.7) vs 10.9Scale of claims vs observations
Russian claims of Ukrainian loss % vs OSINT observed loss % (factor)
Personnel 13.4 vs 7.6 (1.8x)
Armor + Tanks 69.4 vs 12.3 (5.6x)
Artillery 75.7 vs 3.6 (21x)
Aircraft 100+ vs 15.2 (6.6x)
Helicopter 100+ vs 10.9 (9.2x)Scale of claims vs observations
UKR claims of RU(Cmtd) loss % vs OSINT observed loss % (factor)
Personnel 46.4 vs 33.2 (1.4x)
Armor 77.2 vs 45.5 (1.7x)
Tanks 71.3 vs 45 (1.6x)
Artillery 34.7 vs 14.3 (2.4x)
Aircraft 54.2 vs 7.3 (7.4x)
Helicopters 64.2 vs 15 (4.3x)
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.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 April 24, 6 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 estimatesThese 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, but I do not include them because they cannot be independently confirmed.Methodology Updates
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. However, most promised equipment has not yet been delivered or quantities are unknown. Therefore the change in equipment numbers remains small.
Expansion of Ukrainian Personnel numbers
“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’s Defense Ministry spokesman, March 26, 2022I consider the addition of 100,000 new personnel to the Ukrainian forces to be plausible, as Ukraine is listed as having 900,000 with prior military service within the last 5 years in The Military Balance. I am increasing the Ukrainian Personnel figure by 100,000 to 296,600Both 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 this week. If you have any sources, please send them to me.
While Russia is adding personnel and equipment into the war, the number within Ukraine is still estimated by the US as 82 BTGs. Until force size in Ukraine clearly exceeds estimated losses or I find more specific sources, the committed Russian force numbers will remain the same
Attempts to correct for known Errors
Here is an attempt to quantify losses that cannot be photographed because they occurred behind enemy lines. Note that this was prepared a few weeks ago, but the concept is worthwhile
Here is a good attempt to correct the Russian force estimates downwards to account for lack of care and maintenance of equipment, corruption and other factors
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
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.
Also consider the pictures of armored vehicles that are ‘in storage’. I have not included ‘in storage’ figures in any of the force totals.
Photographs also came out this week that show yards near Belgorod used to hold damaged and destroyed equipment that has presumably been recovered as units shifted to southeast Ukraine. These losses may not have been previously added to OSINT counts
There have also been recent attempts to use linear models developed in past conflicts to project losses in this war. These models were developed by Trevor Dupuy in his 1990 book “Attrition: Forecasting Battle Casualties and Equipment losses”. Check out work done @dupuyinstituteThe twitter user who developed these models deleted his post out of fear that their projections would be misused as propaganda against Ukraine.
OSINT source has a large processing backlog, on April 20 estimated at just over 300 pieces of equipment
Major Sources 01/
Ukrainian claims of Russian losses minusrus.com/en includes the Ukrainian estimates of both committed and total Russian forces
Major Sources 2/
Russian claims of Ukrainian losses
Major Sources 3/
OSINT equipment loss observations
RU losses: oryxspioenkop.com/2022/02/attack…
UKR losses: oryxspioenkop.com/2022/02/attack…
Heavy equipment deliveries to Ukraine
For a different front end presentation see
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 on the general force repositioning and equipment resupply efforts were getting to be too big to include in one thread. Please read them here. Unroll available on Thread Reader
Russia: Personnel 1/
Personnel is the most complicated and speculated upon loss figure. It required its own thread to discuss. Please read it if you want to see where the numbers below come from
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 ‘conservatively’ on March 30. The admitted Russian KIA:wounded ratio is 2.8:1 (Mar 25)Russia: Personnel 3/
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 4/
Kremlin spokesman Peskov also described that Russia has suffered “significant losses” of troops and that it was “huge tragedy” for Russia
Russia: Personnel 5/
There has been another report of Russian losses in Russian media, but it is being claimed that it is a result of hacking. Consider the validity of these numbers for yourself
Russia: Personnel 6/
UKR claim 88,200 (21,800; 65,400; 1000) (KIA; wounded; POW)
88,200/190,000 = 46.4% cmtd
88,200/900,000 = 9.8% total
The rate of losses may have slowed as Russia adopted a slower operational pace over the last week while repositioning units.Russia: Personnel 7/
My evaluation is 15,500 Russian KIA and three times that number wounded.
OS 63,000 (15,500; x3=46,500; 1000(per UKR))
63,000/190,000 = 33.2% cmtd
63,000/900,000 = 7% 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/
It has been reported that approximately 20,000 foreign fighters have entered Ukrainian service. Territorial defence groups are also mobilizing beyond the initial reserve pool
Ukraine: Personnel 3/
Russia states the number of ‘foreign mercenaries’ joining Ukraine in fighting is 6,824
Ukraine: Personnel 4/
A total of 870,000 people have returned to Ukraine in recent weeks. A significant portion of whom may be willing to join Ukrainian defense forces
Ukraine: Personnel 5/
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 6/
On April 16, the Russian Ministry of Defense made a claim for Ukrainian losses of 23,367 killed. There was no estimate of wounded at that time. A previous Russian statement claimed 16,000 wounded. I am combining these statementsUkraine: Personnel 7/
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 rangeUkraine: Personnel 8/
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 9/
My evaluation is 5,500 Ukrainian KIA and three times that number wounded
OS 22,500 (5,500; x3=16,500; 500(per RU)) (KIA; wounded; POW)
22,500/296,600 = 7.6%
RU claim 141/125 = 100+%
OS Photo 19/125 = 15.2%
OS Expert* 70/125 = 56%
*‘roughly 55 operational fighter jets’, quoting Dave Deptula, Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies nytimes.com/2022/03/22/wor…
IISS starting point of 125 implies a loss of 70 jetsThere was confusion this week that whole aircraft may have been given to Ukraine. The current understanding is that Ukraine received enough parts make 20 more aircraft operational again. This does not alter the possible loss ranges as they are wide
Ukraine: HelicoptersThe Russian claim for destroyed Ukrainian helicopters was added to this week and remains well above 100% of the known helicopter fleet of Ukraine before the war.I have had requests to include UAV and truck losses in this data. I do not have reliable data on reserves of those categories of equipment, other than reports of numbers of TB drones. Here are some reference points.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
• • •
Now, two months into Mr. Putin’s war, the United States is at the center of an extraordinary campaign to foil him, casting the military conflict as a broader battle between democratic values and authoritarian might.
“It’s nothing less than a direct challenge to the rule-based international order established since the end of World War II,” Mr. Biden said in Warsaw last month. “And it threatens to return to decades of war that ravaged Europe before the international rule-based order was put in place. We cannot go back to that.”
The United States has rushed weapons and humanitarian aid to Ukraine and imposed sanctions intended to cut off Russia from global markets. This past weekend, Mr. Biden sent Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III to Ukraine as affirmation of Washington’s support.
In many ways, officials said, Mr. Biden is trying to make up for the years of U.S. indecisiveness toward Kyiv. Those who wavered earlier include top Biden aides who had worked in the Obama administration as well as officials in the administration of Donald J. Trump, who undermined U.S. policy on Ukraine for personal political gain, according to current and former officials and a review of records.
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