On day 392 of the war in Ukraine, the momentum of the Russian offensives across the battlefield seems to be evaporating. The Ukrainian military launched a small-scale counteroffensive around Bakhmut, catching the Russians off guard.
The Battle for Bakhmut
The heavy fighting for the town of Bakhmut continues. The Russian forces have advanced well inside the town. For the time being, the Ukrainian military continues to hold, with its forces situated in the western part of the town.
Over the past few days, the Ukrainian military launched a counterattack to the west of the town in an attempt to ease up the pressure its forces are under in the besieged urban center. The Ukrainians did manage some local successes around the H-32 highway, which has been one of the key resupply routes into Bakhmut.
“However, there is a realistic possibility that the Russian assault on the town is losing the limited momentum it had obtained, partially because some Russian MoD units have been reallocated to other sectors,” the British Military Intelligence assessed in its most recent update on the war.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky did another surprise visit to the front, visiting the frontlines close to Bakhmut and awarding medals for valor to troops fighting for the defense of the town and the wider Donbas.
The Russian Casualties
Russian forces continue to suffer heavy casualties on the ground in Ukraine.
This week alone, the Russian military and Wagner Group private military company have lost more than 2,500 troops killed or wounded.
Overall, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense claimed that as of Wednesday, Ukrainian forces have killed approximately 167,490 Russian troops (and wounded approximately twice to thrice that number), destroyed 305 fighter, attack, bomber, and transport jets, 290 attack and transport helicopters, 3,557 tanks, 2,589 artillery pieces, 6,887 armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles, 509 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), 18 boats and cutters, 5,434 vehicles and fuel tanks, 272 anti-aircraft batteries, 2,183 tactical unmanned aerial systems, 270 special equipment platforms, such as bridging vehicles, and four mobile Iskander ballistic missile systems, and 909 cruise missiles shot down by the Ukrainian air defenses.
The Battle for Ammo
Meanwhile, the Ukrainian military is working hard to deal with its ammunition shortages. Ukroboronprom, one of the country’s defense companies, has set up an ammunition production line abroad in conjunction with a NATO country and has delivered its first batch of 122mm artillery rounds to the Ukrainian forces.
“The state concern Ukroboronprom, in cooperation with a NATO country, has set up production of 122mm artillery shells abroad and has already shipped a batch to the Armed Forces of Ukraine,” the Ukrainian defense company stated.
Both sides are using vast quantities of ammunition on a daily basis, making the logistical struggle to keep supplying ammo as important as the actual fighting on the frontlines.
To get a better sense of the ammunition expenditure, on a normal day, the Ukrainian military fires around 5,000 rounds while the Russian forces more than double that number.
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A 19FortyFive Defense and National Security Columnist, Stavros Atlamazoglou is a seasoned defense journalist specializing in special operations, a Hellenic Army veteran (national service with the 575th Marine Battalion and Army HQ), and a Johns Hopkins University graduate. He is currently working towards a Master’s Degree in Strategy and Cybersecurity at the Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). His work has been featured in Business Insider, Sandboxx, and SOFREP.