On July 9, Britain’s largest circulation newspaper, the Daily Mail, claimed Ukrainian officials believed Ukraine was "suffering more than 20,000 casualties a month;" and, currently: "200 troops are killed and 800 wounded daily." Moreover, there were: "fears that the true scale of losses is being understated."
This casualty count jibes with a June 15 Axios report which quoted Ukraine’s lead negotiator and top Zelensky adviser, David Arakhamia, saying:
"Up to 1,000 Ukrainian soldiers are being killed and wounded each day in the Donbass region of eastern Ukraine, with 200 to 500 killed on average and many more wounded…" (Axios).
In mid-June, when asked about a daily Ukrainian casualty report of 100 killed and 300 wounded, JCS Chair General Milley said such figures were "in the ballpark of our assessments." Milley wouldn’t specify if this was a low-ball assessment. It was.
Arakhamia’s coy limiter was "in the Donbass." Fighting also occurs north and southwest of the Donbass; while Russian missiles inflict casualties across Ukraine.
Nevertheless, the Axios and Daily Mail articles are examples of the truth about Ukrainian casualties slipping past the censors. This truth confirms Russian estimates. In mid-July a spokesman for the Russian-allied Donetsk Republic placed Ukrainian casualties at: 50,000 dead, 150,000 wounded.
This casualty count is believable given that only one adversary in this war possesses a navy while the theater of engagement encompasses 2,700 kilometers of Black Sea coast. Ukraine’s navy didn’t survive Day One. The Russians have lost two ships.
This casualty count is believable given that only one adversary has an air force; and that air force is the world’s second-most powerful. Ukraine’s main 14 airbases were among the 800 targets obliterated on Day One. The Russians have so far destroyed 16 airbases and 260 aircraft. Russian aircraft losses remain shrouded but could hardly represent a scratch on their combat-ready inventory of 1,100 fighter jets and 137 strategic bombers.
While Russians boast an array of air-launched precision munitions, Kalibr cruise missiles are their weapon of choice. The most deployed Kalibr, the 3M-54, sports a 7-meter tubular frame and a turbojet engine. 3M-54s cruise at Mach 0.8 but accelerate to Mach 3 before impact. 3M-54s can be also launched from ships or submarines; and can hit buildings 1,500 kilometers away with 450-kilogram warheads. Kalibrs have blasted hundreds of Ukrainian munitions warehouses, army barracks etc.
Howitzers not missiles, however, are this war’s grim reaper. While artillery has been ‘king of battle’ since Napoleon, the Russo-Ukrainian War debuts an historic wedding of howitzers to drones.
Russia’s Krasnopal artillery shells (typically fired from armored self-propelled MSTA 152-mm howitzers) are laser-guided to their targets by loitering drones. Rocket-assisted Krasnopals can hit stationary battle tanks 40 kilometers from launch. Their 7-kilogram warheads rocket straight down onto their prey, guaranteeing armor penetration.
While Krasnopals have destroyed hundreds of military vehicles, they too are not this war’s principal widow-maker. That honor belongs to old-school 152-mm shells coupled with humble Orlan-10 drones.
Perhaps the most basic of the 30 Russian-made drones, the Orlan-10 uses a gasoline-fueled piston engine to power a single-propeller plane with a 2-meter wingspan. Orlan-10s rely on rubber-band powered catapults for launch and parachutes to land. Orlan-10s carry retail, made-in-the-USA GPS systems and off-the-shelf Canon cameras. Nevertheless, Orlan-10s remain airborne for 16 hours at 5-kilometer altitudes whilst signaling real-time data to communication hubs 600 kilometers away.
Typical front-line "battles" consist of Orlan-10s beaming video of Ukrainian troops back to Russian communication hubs which then radio coordinates to batteries of four MSTA howitzers. The MSTAs then rumble into firing positions up to 25 kilometers from the spotted Ukrainians. Within one minute the MSTAs simultaneously fire 6 rounds each before driving off to elude counter-artillery. Each round carries a 45-kilogram shrapnel, or incendiary, bomb. The Russian Information Agency recently recounted a day wherein 157 such "battles" took place. The Russians experienced zero casualties.
Circa Day 150, Russia claims to have destroyed: 4,141 battle tanks and other armored fighting vehicles; 4,453 unarmored military vehicles; 3,176 artillery pieces and mortars; 762 multiple launch rocket systems; 1,589 drones; 144 helicopters; and 357 anti-aircraft systems.
This tally equals all the equipment the Ukrainian Army brought into this war. The same could be said of the destruction wrought upon Ukraine’s Airforce and Navy. Absent NATO’s gifts the Ukrainians would be throwing stones.
At war’s outset, Ukrainian Generals commanded 250,000 troops. Casualties now approach this quantum. One million new soldiers have been enlisted and plans are to pressgang 2 million more. All able-bodied men aged 18-to-60 are draftable. Enlistment officers prowl beaches and parks for draft evaders. Priests complain of enlistment officers lurking outside church doors after Sunday Mass. A one-night sweep through Kyiv’s bars netted 300 evaders.
From their silos Ukrainian mandarins spout hallucinatory bombast. On July 18 Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba rejected peace talks until "after the Russians have been defeated on the battlefield." The next day Deputy Defense Minister Volodymyr Havrylov vowed to sink Russia’s Black Sea Fleet and re-take Crimea.
Ukraine’s government is wholly dependent on foreign, principally American, funds. Ukraine’s government banned 16 political parties, including the main opposition party; and nationalized the country’s media. Ukraine’s government seems hell-bent of feeding millions of Ukrainians into the wood-chipper. Of course, this isn’t "Ukraine’s" government anymore. This is a Biden Administration subsidiary and it’s committing colossal crimes against humanity.
William Walter Kay is a researcher and writer from Canada. His most recent book is From Malthus to Mifepristone: A Primer on the Population Control Movement.