The average person trying to decipher the meaning from the daily briefing of the Russian Minister of Defense (aka MOD) is likely overwhelmed by the long list of Ukrainian military units being hit and the variety of weapon systems employed against the Ukrainians. Let me break it down for you. I have taken the liberty of putting the identities of the Ukrainian units and their locations into a spreadsheet. The result is eye-opening and, I think, will help you grasp what Russia is doing.
The following is based on the Russian MOD briefing for the period 4-9 July 2022.
A total of 20 specific Ukrainian military forces were hit with missile and artillery strikes during this 6 day period (the numbers include locations identified as a base for foreign mercenaries). Fifty percent of the strikes occurred in the Donetsk People’s Republic. Here is the list of the units/targets:
- 57th Mechanized Brigade
- South Operational Group
- 14th Mechanized Brigade
- 10th Mountain Assault Brigade
- Ammo Depot
- 72nd Mechanized Brigade
- 24th Mechanized Brigade
- 79th Airborne Assault Brigade
- 25th Air Assault Brigade 226th Battalion
Twenty-five percent (5) of the targets were in the Nikolaev (aka Mykolayiv) against the following units:
- 241st Territorial Defence Brigade
- 188th Battalion of 123rd Territorial Defence Brigade
- Foreign Mercenary
- 107th Battalion of 63rd Mechanised Brigade
- 99th Mechanised Battalion from 61st Chaser Infantry Brigade
Kharkov, which is about 300 miles northeast of Donetsk, accounted for three strikes (4-6 July, which hit the following units:
- 22nd Motorized Infantry Battalion of 92nd Mechanized Brigade
- 93rd Mechanized Brigade
- 40th Artillery Brigade
There was one strike in Zelenodolsk, which is in the Dnepropetrovsk oblast. That missile strike killed 40.
In the Donetsk People’s Republic, Russia hit 13 Command Posts between 4 and 6 July. Why hit Command Posts? The Ukrainian military leadership directing the fight against Russia in the Donetsk. If you kill or wound the leadership you disrupt the command and control of the units operating in the Donetsk. It is the equivalent of cutting the head off of the chicken.
How did the Russians locate these sites? Intelligence. This includes collecting the signals from the radio traffic and cell phone activity. It also may include human source information from captured Ukrainian soldiers. In the days following the attacks on the CPs, Russia then hit the positions of specific Ukrainian units listed above. The reported KIA is significant–at least 6650 Ukrainian troops according to the Russian MOD.
We see a similar pattern in Nikolaev–i.e., hit the Command Posts first and then hit the deployed units (see above). Russia hit 6 CPs and killed 375 Ukrainians. A Foreign Mercenary base also was hit but no casualties were announced by the Russian MOD. Attacks in the Nikolaev area signal that Russia is softening up that area for a movement east towards Odessa. This is not imminent, but Russia is not leaving the area alone.
The Russian MOD did not report hitting any CPs in the Kharkov region. However, the missile strikes did result in 535 dead Ukrainian troops.
The Russian MOD briefing also is providing a summary of military equipment destroyed. For example, the MOD reports that 3,995 tanks and armored combat vehicles have been destroyed. Ukraine started the war with 1472 tanks and 20 tank destroyers. We do not have the specific breakdown of how many tanks have been destroyed but a conservative guess is that the majority of Ukraine’s tanks are no longer combat effective.
Russia is playing its cards very close to its vest. While the MOD briefings provide a handy laundry list for tracking the kinds of losses the Ukrainians are suffering in men and materiel, Russia is not telling the full story of the devastation they are unleashing on Ukraine’s military. But the goal set by Putin–i.e., demilitarization–is being realized.
Up to this point Russia has not targeted the command headquarters of Ukraine’s military in Kiev. If the U.S. and NATO persist in ramping up the weaponry they send to Ukraine, Russia has the ability to hit the top level command posts. If Russia does this they will likely kill and wound U.S. and other NATO officers. Russia has avoided launching such an attack, but if U.S. supplied weapons continue to kill civilians in the Donbass Russian patience may reach its end and they will send a devastating message.
Thank you for the break down Larry. At this rate there wont be any more Ukro soldiers left by October.
In the last thirty days, three Brazilian mercenaries were killed in Ukraine, one in exchange of fire on the battlefront and another two in Russian bombing, this shows the breadth of the Russian army. one of the mercenaries killed, sent an audio to his family saying that he had never seen so many shots and artillery against him, and that he was very scared…
Thanks…this is a big help !
Thank you Mr. Johnson for the sitrep. The almost saintly patience of VVP and the Russian Security Council does indeed cause one to sit up and take notice. Not long ago a commenter on another blog I visit, pointed out 10 significant objects of military interest and their addresses in the center of Kiev. I typed in the adresses and then queried as to the population count within a square kilometer of the target area. Well, Do the military math – Yes, some civilian deaths but…
Russia declared that it will destroy command and control posts in a very broad way, will it then include decision-making posts outside Ukraine?
If NATO (US) facilitates the lobbing of missiles into Russia what do you think?
Thank you for telling me YES
M Droy says
Targeting command centres in Kiev – the 50 generals and officers (or rather I suspect 50 officers including generals) hit a couple of weeks ago was if I recall 30km outside Kiev and so presumably involved Kiev Commanders but at a site with less collateral victims.
Intelligence. Most of these command centres are still in areas where most of the locals will be loyal to Russia, not Kiev. Stick something up on social media anonymously and you have pretty much told the Russians where to fire. They’ll have enough actual spies to confirm the details.
I really don’t see how US/Nato thinks it can send heavy weapons to Ukraine and have it survive anywhere near the current frontlines. It is one thing moving it about from fring point to firing point, but as soon as it needs servicing it will go back to a warehouse for 12 hours or so and good bye. As several reports recently have confirmed.
Well, there is this central command post in the heart of Kiev at a depth of 105 meters – In an area not known for its Love of Russia…Just sayin’…
Military Defense channel (youtube) was mentioning the 26th Artillery Brigade yesterday as a special target (M777 howitzers) recently, unmentioned in your summary.
Thanks Larry for your professional insight. Your’s along side of Andrei Martyanov starts to paint a clearer picture of what is taking place in Russia’s war with NATO.
Peter VE says
I had an interesting event a couple days ago. I used my GPS to get directions to a new loaction, As I was leaving my house, it was obvious G Maps thought I was somewhere else, and it kept giving me directions to make turns on a track about a mile and a half away from where I was. Luckily, I had looked at the map before leaving, so was able to get my destination without it.
A Rashomon question:
Was it a software glitch?
Was it a hardware glitch?
Was it a demonstration that all those lovely GPS guided HIMARS rockets being sent to Ukraine may not arrive at the intended target?
Or am I just another conspiracy theorist?
Bert Huber says
Read today, that Selensky sends one million soldiers to reconquer the south.
Where does he get these ?
Just like in Nazi Germany in 1945 ? from 16 – 65 ?
And where the equipment ?
Its Zelensky’s wet dream made public….
I wonder how many Javelins and MANPADs will be (or have been) flogged off on the black market. I hope they don’t fall into the hands of elements who might want to shoot down an airliner.
“Elements who might want to shoot down an airliner” – Yep, some of those weapons systems are most likely already in posession of those elements…. > : – <