Mark Sumner wrote earlier immediately about the unimaginable shrinking Russian military. It’s an essential learn, because it explains why Russia is caught on all fronts in Ukraine regardless of having a seemingly overwhelming numerical and tools benefit. The underside line, because it seems, is that Russia doesn’t have a numerical and tools benefit.
Russia didn’t achieve any floor immediately, anyplace. They’re caught caught. In the meantime, Ukraine lastly confirmed the seize of the strategic metropolis of Staryi Saltiv, which really passed off over the weekend. These Ukrainian good points round Kharkiv now permit utter destruction of provide convoys anyplace that metropolis. No surprise the Donbas entrance is stymied.
Henry Schlottman is an Open Supply Intelligence (OSINT) man painstakingly monitoring the motion of particular person models on this conflict. This chart of his speaks volumes. (I’ve cropped for legibility, so click on on this hyperlink to get the total view.)
The inexperienced squares represents the estimated power of Ukrainian forces in brigades. The Russian numbers in purple are their battalion tactical teams (BTG). A Ukrainian brigade is the tough equal of 2-3 Russian BTGs, although I’d estimate on the upper finish (3x) given how under-resourced these BTGs have turned out.
Down close to Kherson, within the south, Ukraine really has a numerical benefit—seven Russian BTGs vs 10-15 Ukrainian equivalents. It’s no shock that Russia is caught attempting to maneuver on Krivyi Rih and Mikolaiv, whereas Ukraine is slowly rolling Russian forces in that axis.
Equally, Russia is severely under-resourced within the Kharkiv axis with simply 5 BTGs, whereas Ukraine has 6-9 equivalents. That is why Ukraine is transferring. Nonetheless, the benefit isn ‘t enormous, so progress is sluggish. Ukraine has admitted extreme losses, and even obtained smashed attempting to enter the northern city of Kozacha Lopan.
Defending is way simpler than navy offense.
Within the Izyum course, Russia is way extra resourced with 22 Russian BTGs, reverse 12-18 Ukrainian equivalents. Russia has a bonus! Besides that the usual navy ratio—assuming competent mixed arms (artillery, air, armor, and infantry coordination)—is a 3:1 benefit over defenders, and maybe as excessive as 5:1 in opposition to well-trained troopers in well-defended positions. Right here in Izyum course, Russia’s benefit is lower than two-to-one, which explains why Russia can’t punch by way of.
The supposed Russian benefit within the Donetsk course is much more stark—20 Russian BTGs reverse 6-9 Ukrainian equivalents, but these Russians haven’t even tried to transfer in at the least 4 days, seemingly afraid to push ahead. Ukraine Basic Workers retains warning that Russia is organizing and resupplying for an enormous push. Clearly, Ukraine has to organize for the worst-case state of affairs. However it hasn’t occurred and I’m not anticipating Russia to shock us anytime quickly.
Nonetheless, Ukraine has held quick due to the regular resupply of weapons and munitions from its NATO allies. The Pentagon has famous Ukraine’s excessive consumption charge and is working with allies and different third-parties to resupply. For instance, the USA has approached India and different nations using Soviet-era munitions to purchase them on Ukraine’s behalf. So long as the spigot is working—and it’s—Ukraine can maintain off the Russian hordes.
In the meantime, Russia remains to be doing what it claimed to be fixing after the Battle of Kyiv—spreading its forces too skinny, alongside too broad of a entrance, unable to mass its forces for a decisive punch by way of Ukrainian defensive traces, all of the whereas its lengthy provide traces are decimated by Ukrainian forces.
Besides this time, Russia can’t try a do-over prefer it did after Kyiv. It’s do or die, and largely, it’s the dying half.