Ukraine SitRep – Casualties Leak – Ukraine Admits Russian Breakthrough – Southern Front Paralysis

There is an report on Ukraine making the rounds that was allegedly written by the higher command of the Ukrainian army and leaked from somewhere.

Dr.Snekotron @snekotron – 12:50 UTC · Aug 5, 2022

Ukrainian channels are discussing what might be a leaked data from AFU General Staff:

– The AFU are only at 43-48% strength
– medical workers at their limit
– small arms and armor are not enough
– 191 thousand soldiers were killed and wounded (only AFU, not including others)
– there is not enough hydraulics and liquid nitrogen for M777 howitzers
– no one cares about the missing – there are no statistics
– the equipment transferred by the West is running out
– western weapons are operated by amateurs, since there are no qualified specialists
– no way to repair weapons on the spot due to the lack of spares and specialists – everything is sent to Poland

BTW, even with this dire report, I would caution against predicting a decisive break in morale. As with Peski, the walking wounded are sent straight back into the trenches

There are some pictures of documents written in cyrillic script attached to the above tweet.

The documents look legit. The overall numbers and issues mentioned seem plausible to me. The high number of casualties (plus the missing) is not astonishing. It would be astonished though if the Russian army and its allies have more than one tenth of those. This is mostly an artillery war and the Russian side has had a vast superiority in guns and missiles.

I wonder about the M-777 need for hydraulic oil and nitrogen. Both are used in the hydraulic recoil mechanism of such guns. Back when I was in the military we had similar mechanisms in our tanks. But they did not consume oil or nitrogen due to normal operation. Only larger maintenance, like changing the gun barrel, would require a readjustment of that mechanism. Is the ‘light’ howitzer M-777 so badly constructed that those fluids and gases can leak out and thereby become consumables?

The Ukraine has acknowledged that its main reinforced defense line west of Donetsk city has been broken:

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy this week described the pressure his armed forces were under in the Donbas region in eastern Ukraine as “hell”. He spoke of fierce fighting around the town of Avdiivka and the fortified village of Pisky, where Kyiv has acknowledged its Russian foe’s “partial success” in recent days.

The Ukrainian military said on Thursday Russian forces had mounted at least two assaults on Pisky but that its troops had managed to repel them.

Ukraine has spent the last eight years fortifying defensive positions in Pisky, viewing it as a buffer zone against Russian-backed forces who control the city of Donetsk about 10 km (6 miles) to the southeast.

General Oleksiy Hromov told a news conference that Ukrainian forces had recaptured two villages around the eastern city of Sloviansk, but had been pushed back to the town of Avdiivka’s outskirts after being forced to abandon a coal mine regarded as a key defensive position.

The Russian defence ministry confirmed its offensive.

Source: LiveUAmap 
Everything red on the left of the red line marks recent progress. It looks small but was achieved against the most fortified positions the Ukrainian side had.

Here is an aerial view of a part of Pisky.

There are ditches (black lines) everywhere and after eight years of artillery war all houses have been more or less destroyed. Still their basements are good fighting positions which are difficult to overcome.

The breakthrough happened after the Ukraine had moved many artillery units from the Donetsk to the southern front. That also explains the lack of counter-battery fire in the east an eyewitness recently lamented about.

Ukraine is still dreaming of a counter-offensive in the south:

Ukraine said the Russian offensive in the east looked like an attempt to force it to divert troops from the south where Kyiv’s forces are trying to retake territory and destroy Russian supply lines as a prelude to a wider counter-offensive.

“The idea is to put military pressure on us in Kharkiv, Donetsk and Luhansk over the next few weeks … What is happening in the east is not what will determine the outcome of the war,” Ukrainian Presidential Adviser Oleksiy Arestovych said in an interview on YouTube.

Arestovych is of course wrong. The war was decided in the east when the Ukrainian military followed its bosses orders and moved everything it had to that front. That gave the Russian artillery the chance to take it apart. The Ukrainian tactic, ordered from above, was to hold onto every position until it was completely destroyed. A more mobile defense would likely have been more effective and would have cost less casualties.

The units that Ukraine pulled back from Donbas and has send down to Kherson for its ‘million men’ offensive were already heavily mauled. They have now been waiting for weeks for the offensive to launch. Meanwhile Russian missiles have hit several of those repositioned units and caused a high numbers of fresh casualties. The removal of Ukrainian artillery from the Donetsk line allowed for the breakthrough at that line.

The long time it took for all that repositioning to happen has also given time for the Russian forces to strengthen its troops around Kherson. There are by now sufficient numbers for the Russian’s to launch their own offensive in the area.

General Hromov said Russia might launch its own offensive in the southern Ukrainian region of Kherson to try to win back momentum in the war after building up its forces there.

The general got that right. The Russian offensive in the south may launch as early as next week.

There seems to be again a disagreement between the Zelensky regime and the general staff of the armed forces of Ukraine.

The general staff knows that a counter-offensive against Kherson makes no sense as it would cost many more casualties and is likely to be defeated.

Source: Military Land
(Under NATO symbology friendly artillery is marked as a rectangle with a fat dot in the middle. An X above says the unit is a brigade. Three vertical lines mark a (smaller) regiment  and two a (smaller) battalion.)

I count 4 Ukrainian artillery brigades and three artillery regiments on the southern front. There is currently only one artillery brigade on the eastern front. While mechanized brigades in the east have their own organic artillery units those do not have the big guns that can do the counter-battery fire. 

The general staff does not want to attack in the south. It wants to move a least some of the artillery brigades there back to the Donetsk line.

But Zelenski and his crew want to prevent the referendums that will be held next month in Kherson and other regions under Russian control. That is why they are pushing for a counter-attack there.

The disagreement has paralyzed the Ukrainian army. The units sitting in the south waiting for orders while they get decimated by daily Russian missile strikes. This while they are urgently needed in the east.

Zelensky and Arestovych may be good at making movies. Military geniuses they are certainly not.