The bizarre statements flowing from Ukraine’s political leadership would be great grist for a superb comedy show except tens of thousands of Ukrainian soldiers are being killed and wounded. Their actual suffering makes it difficult to chuckle over the craziness displayed by Zelensky and company. Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov proclaimed:
Ukraine is massing a million-strong fighting force equipped with western weapons to recover its southern territory from Russia . . . . Retaking the areas around the Black Sea coast was vital to the country’s economy
Not so fast there bucko. The UK’s Daily Mail, which has been one of the frenzied cheerleaders extolling the imminent victory of Ukraine over Russia, became Debbie Downer today with this report (courtesy of Andrei Martyanov):
Like many of his male friends, Serhiy no longer leaves his home in western Ukraine for fear of being sent to the front line to replace soldiers killed or injured in the fight against Russia.
The construction worker spends his days hiding from military officials serving call-up papers at bars, beaches, checkpoints, malls and even church services.
As casualties mount on both sides, there was anger last week after Ukraine’s military revealed plans to bring in permits prohibiting men eligible for conscription from leaving the region where they are registered under martial law.
This restriction of movement for men aged 18 to 60 was criticised by President Volodymyr Zelensky and revoked, but it highlights the struggle for a nation suffering more than 20,000 casualties a month – officials admit up to 200 troops are killed and 800 wounded daily.
What is shocking about the Daily Mail article is the admission by Ukrainian officials that they are suffering huge losses–200 kia and 800 wia per day. Just do the math. Two hundred per day times 120 days (i.e. , 4 months) equals at least 24,000 dead. Wounded is in excess of 96,000. The number of casualties is probably much higher. Today, for example, the Russian MOD reported that it killed 300 Ukrainians in the Donestsk and 250 in Kharkov. In addition, Russia reports that 70% of the 25th Air Assault Brigade has been destroyed. That means between 1400 and 2800 soldiers.
Material losses also are piling up. At the start of the war, Ukraine had 166 helicopters. Russia claims it has shot down 137 as of 11 July. Aircraft losses are grim as well. At the outset of the war Ukraine listed 181 aircraft in its Air Force. Russia claims it has downed 243 planes. This number includes those air frames sent by NATO allies. In short, Ukraine has no functional Air Force left to carry out combat missions in support of a ground offensive. While it is conceivable Russia is overstating the number of fixed wing and rotary wing craft destroyed, Russia knows exactly what Ukraine has and only has to wait for the remaining planes to get take-off before targeting them for destruction.
There is no million man ground force in Ukraine capable of launching an offensive against Russian positions in the Crimea. There are no tank brigades or air force units intact to support such an offensive.
One final piece of bad news for the 58th Motorized Infantry Brigade operating near Artemovsk in the Donetsk People’s Republic–Russia hit the Command Post today. If true, that means the 58th Brigade has been decapitated and the men of the 58th deployed in trenches are on their own. Dis-spirited, shell shocked troops will find it difficult to put up a credible defense. This is the reality of war. A mythical million man Army is a macabre joke.