Today marks two months since the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and the obvious question is: have the invaders fulfilled their objectives?
Recall that on February 24, Putin said that his purpose was to "demilitarize" and "denazify" Ukraine, a cynical propaganda vocabulary that made clear his purpose to nullify the Ukrainian Armed Forces and subjugate the entire country. That is why Russian forces entered Ukraine on all possible fronts, not only from the Russian-Ukrainian border, but also from Crimea - a Ukrainian region occupied by the Russians since 2014 - and from Ukraine's border with Belarus.
The situation of the Russian forces six days after the beginning of the invasion
On March 2, six days after the invasion, British Defence Intelligence produced this map showing the advance of the invading forces:
The map showed the Russian advances in the north of the country, with the invading forces occupying part of the Kiev, Chernigov, Sumy and Kharkov regions; advances in the east, with partial occupations of the Lugansk and Donets regions (already partially taken over by Russian-backed pro-Russian separatists); and advances in the south, with the partial occupation of the Kherson and Zaporizhia regions. Only six days had passed since the beginning of the invasion and some assumed that the whole of Ukraine would soon fall.
The situation one month after the start of the invasion
On March 24, a month after the start of the invasion, British Defence Intelligence published this new map showing the areas occupied by the Russians:
The map shows the Russian forces practically at a standstill in the north, with the main difference being the advance along the H07 highway from Summy to kyiv (with hardly any flank coverage), in an attempt to encircle the Ukrainian capital from the east. As for eastern Ukraine, the map shows the Russian occupation of the north-east of the Lugansk region and the south-west of the Donetsk region. In the south of the country, the Russians had not yet occupied the entire Kherson region (the western part was missing) and the entire Zaporizhia region. In the southeast, Russian forces were still mired in the siege of Mariupol.
Russia withdrew from northern Ukraine after the failure of its offensive on that front
A day later, on March 25, Russia accepted the failure of its initial plan and changed its objectives, concentrating on the Donbass. In addition to not having met its initial objectives, the Russian losses were already enormous: 1,785 vehicles in total, including 280 tanks, 15 planes, 35 helicopters, 16 drones, 2 logistics trains and 3 ships.
The invasion had already caused more than 1,000 civilian deaths, including 90 children.
By then, moreover, the invasion had already cost 1,035 civilian deaths -including 90 children- and 1,650 wounded (these figures, published by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, represent almost three times more deaths than those caused by the war in the Donbass between 2016 and 2021; let us remember that this war was described by Putin as "genocide" and was used as a false pretext to invade Ukraine).
In a month Russia lost 1,351 soldiers, almost as many as in Afghanistan in a year
That same March 25, Russia recognized the death of 1,351 Russian soldiers in the invasion. Although some were quick to downplay this figure, in one month almost as many Russian soldiers had died in Ukraine as in Afghanistan in a year after the 1978 Soviet invasion.
The situation of the invasion in Ukraine today
Finally, today the British Defence Intelligence has published this map of the situation in Ukraine:
As can be seen, the Russians have withdrawn from the north of the country, with fighting continuing only in the vicinity of Kharkov. In the east, despite their advances, a month later the Russians are still unable to occupy the entire territory of the Lugansk and Donetsk regions, despite being the areas closest to their border and therefore offering the most facilities for Russian logistical support. In the south, the Russians still do not control the entire territory of the Kherson and Zaporizhia regions, despite the fact that two months have passed since the beginning of the invasion and that these areas are close to Crimea, which has been occupied by Russia for 8 years. Russia has not even managed to reduce the last focus of resistance in Mariupol, in the Azovstal steelworks, where Ukrainian soldiers are still entrenched, accompanied by hundreds of civilians.
Despite this clear stalemate, this week Russian General Rustam Minnekayev stated that Russia wants to occupy the entire Ukrainian coast as far as Moldova, in an attempt to create a land corridor to Transnistria, the eastern region of Moldova occupied by Russian troops since 1995.
Russia has lost more than 500 tanks in just two months
To date, according to data published by the Oryxspioenkop.com website since the beginning of the invasion, Russia has already lost 3,129 vehicles, including 543 tanks, 24 planes, 36 helicopters, 45 drones, 2 trains and 4 ships, including the cruiser Moskva, flagship of the Black Sea Fleet.
The dead civilians have almost multiplied by seven those of the Donbás between 2016 and 2021
Likewise, in these two months the Russian invasion has caused 2,435 deaths, including 184 children, and 2,946 injuriesThe dead are already almost seven times more than those caused by the war in the Donbas between 2016 and 2021. Russia has not only failed with this invasion, but is also committing horrendous crimes against the Ukrainian civilian population (the most famous being the Bucha massacre, but he is not the only one).
A major strategic setback for Russia
To the failure of the invasion, we must add a strategic setback for Putin, with a reinforced NATO and in which many countries are planning to rearm in the face of the obvious threat that Russia represents for their security. To this must be added something as unusual as the fact that Finland and Sweden are in the process of joining the Atlantic Alliance, renouncing their traditional neutrality for fear of being the next to suffer a Russian attack. Finally, Russia has been economically isolated by the West, which will cause serious problems for the Russian economy and also for its defense industry, which was increasingly dependent on technology exported from the West.
Photo: Sergey Bobok/AFP. Three abandoned Russian GAZ Tigr vehicles in Ukraine.
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