What response should be expected from Moscow?

On Monday, Russia admitted that 89 of its soldiers had died in Ukraine. Some analysts expect Russian forces to increase in the coming weeks ahead of these losses.

A rare statement from Russia. Moscow on Monday acknowledged its worst military casualties in an offensive in Ukraine, with at least 89 soldiers dead after a strike by Kyiv’s army.

The bombing took place in Makiivka, a stronghold east of Donetsk in Moscow’s long-occupied territory that has been held by pro-Russian separatists since the conflict with Kiev began in 2014. According to the spokesman of the Russian Defense Ministry, Igor Konashenkov, who did not disclose the date of the attack, said that four missiles targeted the “temporary deployment center” of the army. According to him, two more rockets were fired.

The announcement is exceptional: not only is it the heaviest loss in an offensive that Moscow has suffered since the beginning of its invasion in February, but also first information on military casualties Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu since September recorded 5937 dead in the ranks of the Russian army.

Different numbers on the Ukrainian side

Ukraine, which He admitted that he carried out this strike, giving the date of December 31Before the New Year, in turn, he put forward conflicting information about the losses of the Russian army in Makivka.

The strategic communications department of the Ukrainian army said on Telegram on Sunday that there were 400 dead and 300 wounded. Meanwhile, the General Staff said that it does not have exact information on the number of Russian victims. Moreover, according to information from Kiev, “up to 10” military vehicles of “all types” were destroyed in this bombing.

He added in a Facebook post on Monday: “The loss of employees in terms of personnel is being determined.”

Criticism of the Russian military command

In note posted on MondayThe American Institute for the Study of War, a think tank, says the Russian Defense Ministry’s “vague acknowledgment of the attack” has “increased criticism of the Russian military command,” particularly among military bloggers.

Boris Rozhine, a blogger close to Ukrainian separatist circles, criticizes the “incompetence” of high-ranking officers of the Russian army and says, “Despite several months of war, certain results have not yet been drawn.” In particular, he believes that Russian troops closer to the front line are not dispersed enough in Makivka.

“The best response to the Makiivka tragedy will be not only the search for those responsible, but above all effective and systematic response strikes,” the blogger adds. his Telegram channel.

Towards Russian repression?

Can such losses scare Ukrainians from serious repressions? According to the British Ministry of Defence, “in mid-December, Russian military forces and Wagner’s proxy forces probably increased the frequency of infantry attacks around the town of Bakhmut, Donetsk region, just above Makivka.”

The UK Ministry of Defense said in its intelligence memo on Tuesday that many of Russia’s operations around Bakhmut in recent weeks were “poorly supported” and faced “significant reinforcement” from Ukraine.

“Both sides have suffered heavy casualties,” he said, adding that “Russia is unlikely to make significant progress near Bakhmut in the coming weeks.”

However, Ukraine is wary of at least a numerical increase in the strength of Russian forces in the coming weeks or months. Ukrainian Resistance Center created by the special forces of the Ukrainian army January 2 edition “The enemy expects a new wave of mobilization that will affect the residents of the temporarily occupied south in early 2023.” Russian President Vladimir Putin in September ordered the mobilization of approximately 300,000 reserve soldiers.

Sebastien Lecornu, Minister of the Armed Forces of France Sunday at LCI is also scheduled Relying on the forces mobilized in September, a “more ground-based counteroffensive” in the “February-March” horizon. “It is clear that we will enter a moment of massification when the Russians will throw all their forces into battle,” the minister confirmed, adding that “the first quarter of 2023 will be very decisive.”

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