Its best possibility to still sustain for a while is to now build several new defense lines and to pull back to those. Instead it is continuing to attack on too many fronts with little gains and large losses.
Yesterday the Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed the situation with his Security Council.
Nikolai Patrushev, the Secretary of the Council, reported on Ukrainian losses:
As of today, we have the following statistics. From June 4 to 21, we destroyed 246 tanks, including 13 Western tanks, as well as 595 armoured combat vehicles and armoured cars. Of this number, we have destroyed 152 infantry fighting vehicles, including 59 Western models, as well as 443 other armoured combat vehicles. We have destroyed 279 field artillery systems and mortars, including 48 Western systems. We have also destroyed 42 multiple launch rocket systems, 2 surface-to-air missile systems, 10 tactical fighters, 4 helicopters, 264 drones and 424 motor vehicles.
Those numbers are a bit below the sums in my spreadsheet as given by the daily report of the Russian Ministry of Defense. I believe that Patrushev’s sums are probably four or five days old. Patrushev gives the number of dead Ukrainians as 13,000 along all fronts. That is again a bit below my sums and likely behind in time.
Putin then asks his Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu:
Vladimir Putin: I see.
Mr Shoigu, we know that the enemy is to receive additional Western equipment. What does the Defence Ministry think about threats in this connection?
Sergei Shoigu: Regarding current and planned military equipment deliveries, there are plans to supply 250 tanks, including about 120 Leopards and 31 Abrams tanks, throughout 2023. There are also 95 T-72 tanks that they have scraped together from all over the world. This is what we know about the planned deliveries.
There are plans to deliver 983 armoured combat vehicles throughout 2023. In all, 822 vehicles, the bulk of the shipment, including 740 Western models, is set to arrive during the third and fourth quarters.
In effect, we can also see that all arsenals, accumulated by the Soviet Union and countries of the former socialist bloc, have now been virtually depleted. We can say the same about former Ukrainian resources.
The intention is to deliver 273 155-mm artillery systems throughout 2023. This is more than two times less than had been delivered so far.
That sounds like a lot but Shoigu then makes this assessment:
In the context of the losses, listed by Mr Patrushev, and taking into account earlier developments, we now realise that the amount, due to be delivered throughout 2023, as well as those weapons that have already been delivered, will not seriously affect the course of hostilities. Additionally, most of the armoured vehicles and fighting vehicles belong to the previous generation, or even to an earlier generation. On the one hand, their armour is weak and ineffective, compared to modern equipment. Mr President, we do not see any threats here, all the more so as we are actively accumulating reserve equipment and service personnel.
That is good news. For the Russians. For the Ukraine military it means that it will again get as much as it has lost over the last three weeks except for artillery which is already scarce and will in future be even more so. But how long will that last if the Ukrainian army continues to attack?
Russia is still expanding its military and is creating new military units. According to Shoigu those have already receive 3,786 pieces of military hardware and are daily receiving 112 more units. I presume that to mean ‘stuff that shoots or drives’, i.e. cannons and armored vehicles of all kind. This is not all new stuff but also refurbished and upgraded depot equipment. But compared to what Ukraine will still get the numbers are just huge.
The Russian side now has two choices. It can go on attack, as it currently does near Kupiansk, or it can wait at the current lines until the Ukraine has thrown all that new stuff against those.
We will most likely see a mix of both. Russia may stay quiet in the south where it has good positions and attack in the north where Ukrainian militia attempt to make boarder raids on Russia. A wide security zone there would end that nonsense.
Reprinted with permission from Moon of Alabama.