Russia has at this time more dead than it had in Afghanistan in 10 years

Five months of the Russian invasion of Ukraine: the facts that indicate who is losing

Today marks five months since the start of the current Russian invasion of Ukraine, an invasion that began with very ambitious goals.

Ukraine has already destroyed more than 500 Russian Army tanks in 21 weeks of invasion
Ukraine exhibits the tanks captured from the Russians and now used against the invaders

Putin wanted to seize all of Ukraine and turn it into a puppet of Russia

On the first day of the invasion, Vladimir Putin himself outlined his goals: to "demilitarize" and "denazify" Ukraine, which, translating from the Kremlin's propaganda language into common language, meant that the Russian dictator wanted to take over the entire country and turn it into into a Russian puppet. That meant decapitating the Ukrainian government and putting a Moscow-appointed government in its place. To that end, Russia launched airborne forces at Hostomel Airport, in Kiev, ostensibly to control the Ukrainian capital and secure a key point for a larger-scale airborne landing.

The failure of the taking of Kiek by the Russians

However, Russia lost the Battle of Hostomel. Following the Ukrainian counterattack, the Russian forces were defeated at that airport and forced to withdraw. At the end of March, in just one month, the Russian invasion had already caused more civilian casualties than the war in the Donbass in 5 years. That had been one of the excuses used by the Kremlin to justify the invasion, launching the hoax that Ukraine was a "genocide" in Donbass (a hoax that Putin had already launched against Georgia to justify the Russian invasion of that country in 2008). On March 25, after a month of invasion, Russia accepted its failure and withdrew from northern Ukraine, ending its offensive against Kiev.

The few and costly advances of the Russians in the Donbass

Since then, Russia has concentrated its military action on three fronts: conquering eastern Ukraine, launching indiscriminate air strikes against the civilian population in the rest of the country, and blocking the export of Ukrainian grain. To this day, the Russian offensive in the Donbass is stalled, after making very small gains at very high costs. The attacks against the civilian population and the blockade of grain exports, with the consequent risk of global famine, have only served to convey the image of Russia as a terrorist state that believes that anything goes, including war crimes, to obtain some success in an invasion that does not achieve its objectives.

Russia is leaving the prestige of its armed forces on the floor

In addition to not fulfilling its military objectives, the so-called "demilitarization" is further away than ever. The invasion has prompted several Western countries to send military aid to Ukraine, an unprecedented aid since World War II. To make matters worse, militarily Russia has shown that it was an overrated power. It has shown that her military hardware is outdated, its troops are unmotivated and ill-prepared, its logistics are a mess, and its military doctrine is out of date. With this invasion, Putin has shattered the prestige of his armed forces. A prestige further damaged by the cases of war crimes, rape and looting committed by the Russians in Ukraine.

Russia has had more deaths in 5 months than it had in Afghanistan in 10 years

As for the figures of the war, this Friday the US has estimated that 15,000 Russian soldiers have died and 45,000 have been wounded. These are figures that lower the estimates published by Ukraine, but are still huge. During the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan (1979-1989), the invaders had 14,453 dead and 53,753 wounded. Thus, Russia would have more deaths in Ukraine in 5 months than in Afghanistan in 10 years. Let us remember that the invasion of Afghanistan ended in Soviet failure.

The Russians have lost 24% of their soldiers and 33.8% of their active tanks

The material losses are also considerable. The website Oryxspioenkop.com, which has been documenting with images the losses of both sides since February 24, indicates today that Russia has already lost 4,794 military vehicles, including 882 tanks, 272 of which have been captured by the Ukrainians. Some think that such a figure is irrelevant for Russia, but it is not true. The Russian Federation has a standing army of about 250,000 servicemen and 2,609 tanks, according to its Table of Organization and Equipment (TOE). Thus, in just five months Russia would have already lost 24% of its soldiers and 33.8% of its active tanks, and that taking into account the estimates of the aforementioned website, which are downwards. Those figures are a huge loss for Russia.

Ukraine has managed to capture more Russian tanks than it has lost in this invasion

In turn, according to Oryxspioenkop.com, Ukraine has lost 1,362 military vehicles, including 227 tanks. These are considerably lower casualties than the Russians. In fact, the number of tanks lost by Ukraine is less than the number of Russian tanks captured by the Ukrainians. It would seem that more than "demilitarizing" Ukraine, what Putin is achieving with this invasion is demilitarizing Russia.

Even if Russia and Ukraine had the same casualties, it must be remembered that their resources and objectives are different. Russia is using resources to invade a country, with specific objectives (the ones we saw above) and the disadvantage of projecting its force far from its borders. Ukraine is defending her territory, which gives it an advantage. Its goal is its survival as a country, and it has mobilized hundreds of thousands of men to achieve it. Russia has not carried out such a general mobilization.

HIMARS and MLRS can make Russia go on the defensive

Furthermore, Ukraine is receiving more and more military aid from the West, while Russia is no longer able to cover its losses, due to international sanctions and their effects on the Russian military industry. Until now, the Ukrainian combat morale has been and remains higher than the Russian one, because the Ukrainians are defending their Homeland, while the Russian soldiers are invading a neighboring country, in an unjustifiable aggression based on lies spread by the Kremlin. To this must be added that the arrival of modern HIMARS and MLRS rocket launchers in Ukraine is creating serious problems for Russia, with constant attacks on Russian weapons depots in the occupied areas. It is quite possible that, if hostilities continue, these attacks will also be directed against Russian bases in Crimea.

The prospects that this invasion has ahead

Putin thinks he has time on his side. He believes that with the arrival of autumn, the absence of Russian gas will cause serious problems for allied countries that will make them rethink sanctions against Russia. However, time is also playing against Russia: it loses more and more soldiers and more material, and the more time passes Ukraine manages to attract more and more military aid. Such aid, especially rocket launchers and tanks, may end up encouraging Ukraine to launch a full-scale counteroffensive, leaving Russia on the defensive in territory that is not even its own and for which its soldiers feel not worth dying for.

If that happens, Russia would have a hard time holding the areas that Ukraine has occupied, it even risks losing Crimea and the areas of the Donbass occupied before the invasion. Russia could end up repeating the same humiliating scene that it already starred in with its withdrawal from Afghanistan in 1989. The difference is that this time it will have lost many more soldiers and material in much less time. We'll see how long it takes for this trail of dead and wounded to cause an internal reaction against Putin.

The geostrategic balance of the invasion: a setback for Russia

To this must be added the political and geostrategic balance of this invasion: a stronger, cohesive and enlarged NATO (with the incorporation of Finland and Sweden), and determined to rearm and that will have even greater borders with Russia; a Ukraine that has strengthened its spirit and national identity with this invasion, and that in the future will keep them reminding their children of the heroic days of defending against Moscow; a Russia that is discredited and weakened, and which will be more dependent on China and other partners that are even more uncomfortable and just as unpresentable and unreliable (such as Iran and Venezuela); and Putin portrayed more than ever as a dictator and a terrorist, a plague in the international sphere, and an unbearable figure for his own people, who is enduring levels of censorship and repression already typical of the USSR.

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Photo: aa.com.tr. A destroyed Russian tank in Ukraine.

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