Battle of the Donbas seems to be already have turned into a battle of attrition that holds out almost no possibility of a major Russian victory and more likely will peter out in the next week or so because of unsustainable losses.
Lets look at losses. Using claimed Ukrainian losses of Russian equipment as a gauge of combat intensity, it seems that the last 10 days have seen a major increase of fighting with much heavier losses being suffered (presumably by both sides).
I made this chart showing cjlaimed losses over 2 day periods between 14 April and just released information for today. Losses really leapt up after 18 April when the Battle was said to have started. The rise in tank loss rates was approx double and in APC losses more than 75%
If these Ukrainian claims are at all accurate (it should be noted that documented, photographed claims of Russian losses are about two thirds of those claimed, so they certainly should not be out by much) then the Russians have lost 217 tanks and 404 APCs since the battle started
Even if they are exaggerrated by 20 percent, Russian losses would be extreme, around 20 full strength BTGs worth? And according to the Pentagon, the Russians have 92 BTGs in Ukraine.
That means they could have lost 20% of their tanks and APCs in Ukraine since the battle started (thats if the BTGs were at that point close to full strength. If they were considerably weaker, it could be higher).
And what have the Russians gained for this large loss? Incrementally a few kilometres here and a few kilometres there. Here is the situation as mapped by @War_Mapper a few hours ago and on 17 April.
There have been some small extension of the Russian lines heading south of Izyum and towards Lyman, but the pace is such that unless Ukrainian forces are actually close to collapse, the chance of a large scale encirclement is very small.
Pentagon intelligence also claims two things which are slowing down Russian advances. They are still suffering significant logistics problems (they need to stay close to their supply dumps) and they still dont have air superiority over the battlefield.
And now some worrying signs are creeping in for the Russians. 1st, there are indications that the Ukrainians are starting to deploy the loitering munition UAVs (Switchblade type) that were sent just a little while ago. This could be a major Russian problem
And UK MOD estimates are that problems are exhibited across the board for Russians, maybe most worryingly for them, morale problems are occuring.
A sign that Russian defeated troops into action from the Kyiv front might not have been the wisest choice.
Long story short. Unless the Ukrainians have been degraded to the point that their resistance is about to crack, and the Russians start moving swiftly to encircle their forces, its likely the Russian effort will peter out because of such high losses with little gains.
Finally, the plateauing of Russian losses followed by the decline in the last few days, could indicate a lessening in combat intensity as the failure of the Russians to breakthrough combined with the high losses starts to filter through.
Another worrying sign for the Russians are growing reports (and pictures) of accurate, long range artillery fire by the Ukrainians. Considering Ukr artillery capabilities should grow over the coming weeks, this will add to Russian losses.
Turns out that this strike revealed more than just effective long range artillery. Ukrainians claim they killed another Russian general. Showing continuing Ukrainian intelligence strength
@ISW update does seem to indicate a slowing in Russian advance on the Izyum front. If this continues for a few days, the losses could be cutting into Russian ability to maintain offensive operations
Another possible sign of slowing of combat intensity in the Battle of the Donbas. New Ukrainian loss claims of Russian tanks trending downwards. 18 new Russian tanks destroyed and 26 new AFV. Will be interesting to see if this decline continues
And very little Russian advance to go along with the decline in combat intensity.
Saw the point made that this decline in losses could indicate Ukrainian strength weakening. It could if the Russians seemed to be breaking through and advancing more than before. Seems that the opposite is happening. Russian attacks are decreasing in overall strength…
And the front line is stabilising. Much more likely then that the Russians are having to pause because of high losses and logistical problems.
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