Russia is ready to lose 70,000 more soldiers before June, Ukraine predicts

According to Andriy Chernyak, a representative of Ukraine’s Defense Ministry, the Russian army could suffer up to 70,000 casualties in the next four or five months.

Chernyak told RBK-Ukraine that the Russian leadership expects such losses as peace talks are unlikely.

An attack by Ukrainian forces on a base in the occupied town of Makiivka in the eastern Donetsk region on Monday killed 63 stationed soldiers, the highest Russian-acknowledged death toll in an attack since the invasion began on February 24, 2022.

“According to estimates by Ukrainian military intelligence, the Russians will try to continue offensive operations next year,” Chernyak said, according to an English translation. “They have failed to achieve their objective on either front. They understand that they are losing, but they have no plans to end the war.”

Russia will likely try to make offensive military advances from different directions in the coming months, he added.

“We’re considering the possibility that they could attack simultaneously from the north or east,” Chernyak said. “According to estimates by the Ukrainian military intelligence service, the Russian army could lose up to 70,000 more soldiers in the next four to five months. And the leadership of the occupied country is prepared for such losses.”

He also predicted that Russia intends to hold the land corridor to Crimea and conquer the entire Donetsk region. Chernyak told RBK-Ukraine he didn’t think the occupiers would be able to cross the Dnieper to recapture Kherson.

Ukraine Russia War Putin Donetsk Attack Missiles
A photo shows a warning sign written in both Ukrainian and Russian in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine on January 2, reading ‘stop mines’ for four to five months.
SAMEER AL-DOUMY/AFP via Getty Images

According to Ukrainska Pravda, a Ukrainian online news agency, an attack by Ukraine on New Year’s Eve killed about 400 Russian soldiers and wounded about 300.

While Russia acknowledged that the attack took place, the official death toll was significantly lower.

In a Jan. 2 assessment, the Institute for the Study of War (ISW), a Russian blog focused on the military, criticized the timing of a cruise missile attack on Jan. 31.”

The blogger argued that Russia must systematically conduct such strikes earlier in the war, that the strike should have had follow-up strikes to ensure maximum damage, and that the timing of this strike was inopportune as Ukrainian elements are unlikely to be involved would be the base on New Year’s Eve,” wrote the ISW.

Oxana Shevel, associate professor of political science at Tufts University, said news week that the only hypothetical route for Russia to succeed would be a major collapse in Ukraine’s morale and/or military capacity, “of which there is no evidence,” she said.

She said the other possible opening to Russian forces in Ukraine involves a collapse of the Western coalition, which has essentially supported Ukraine since the war began. Weapons are part of this support.

“[A breakdown of Western support] seems unlikely to me, given Europe’s generally successful handling of the energy situation, Trump-backed Republicans have not fared well over the medium term, and continued Russian atrocities are making it easier for Western governments and the public to keep supporting Ukraine and Ukrainians struggling literally for the right to exist as people and as a state,” Shevel said.

Russia can delay the war, she added, but “time is not on her side” considering her mobilization prospects, the economy, international support, or winning hearts and minds in Ukraine.

“Putin staked his personal future and his twisted vision of ‘Greater Russia’ on this war and will continue to throw life into the meat grinder to the bitter end… I don’t see how Russia can win,” she said.

news week asked the Ukrainian and Russian defense ministries for an opinion.

https://www.newsweek.com/russia-ready-lose-70k-more-soldiers-before-june-ukraine-predicts-1771015 Russia is ready to lose 70,000 more soldiers before June, Ukraine predicts

Rick Schindler

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