August 8, 2023

Sitrep for Aug. 7–8, 2023 (as of 8 a.m.)

Frontline Situation Update

On the Zaporizhzhia axis, fighting continues for Urozhaine, which is separated by a river from the AFU-controlled village of Staromaiorske, in the area of Velyka Novosilka. According to unconfirmed reports from pro-Russian sources, Ukrainian forces crossed the fording attempting to attack Urozhaine, but were driven out by Russian forces.

Strikes on Ukrainian Territory

On Aug. 7, Russian forces launched two missile attacks on Pokrovsk in the Donetsk region. As a result of the strikes, a residential building which housed a hotel and a neighboring building with a pizza place, were noticeably damaged. At the time of recording the sitrep, 7 people were reportedly killed and 88 wounded.

Based on available information, it appears that Pokrovsk was hit with two consecutive strikes, commonly referred to as a double tap. This is evidenced by both eyewitness accounts and the fact that Andriy Omelchenko, Deputy Head of the State Emergency Service Main Department in the Donetsk region, was killed, and a police officer, who was assisting victims after the first strike, was injured. As far as we know, there were no military facilities in the residential area in the town center where the strike occurred.

Andriy Omelchenko, Deputy Head of the State Emergency Service Main Department in the Donetsk region.
Police officer, who was assisting victims after the first strike.

On Aug. 7, as a result of a Russian artillery attack on Kherson, a residential house was damaged, and an elderly woman was killed.

Kherson, like Donetsk, is located in close proximity to the combat zone and regularly faces attacks and missile strikes, necessitating the evacuation of local residents. (Despite the Russian authorities announcing evacuation from Donetsk in February 2022, it has not been completed).

Soldiers from the 47th Brigade of the AFU managed to shoot down a Russian Kamov Ka-52 (Hokum B) attack helicopter using a man-portable air defense system near Robotyne, in the Orikhiv direction. This is confirmed by posts expressing grief on the pro-Russian Telegram channels Helicopterpilot and Fighterbomber from which it can be concluded that the crew was killed.

Residents of Krasnogorsk, Moscow region, have noticed ongoing repair work taking place on the technical (upper) floor of a residential building. However, they were unable to determine exactly what was happening there. According to written responses from the city administration, the work involves “telecommunications equipment for improved connectivity.” The Russian Ministry of Defense has stated that there are no military facilities there. Other sources have reported that the city administration has explained the construction as being carried out “for security purposes.” Cracks have appeared in the walls of apartments due to the construction, and a grille and security post have been installed on the upper floor. When residents managed to access the roof, they discovered glass booths with fire extinguishers, resembling observation posts. Their presence seems to refute the version about the installation of air defense systems. Another hypothesis anticipates that electronic warfare equipment might have been installed there, although the presence of observation posts could compromise the EW facilities. It is quite possible that the authorities are simply trying to track the direction from which drones are approaching Moscow. At the same time it is rather difficult for us to envision the booths serving as quarters for operators of MANPADS.

A combine harvester was blown up by a mine near the village of Kozinka, Belgorod region, injuring the driver and the operator. The village of Kozinka is located on the border with Ukraine, not far from the Grayvoron border checkpoint, notorious for being the target of the Russian Volunteer Corps’ May raid. The ill-fated mine could have been planted either by Russian soldiers against sabotage groups or by a Ukrainian sabotage and reconnaissance group. This is another incident that was made possible due to the lack of evacuation of people from the border regions.

Western Assistance

The Washington Post has estimated that the US has sent more than $66 billion in aid to Ukraine since the beginning of the full-scale invasion. Of these, $43 billion is military aid, $20 billion is economic aid, and $2.6 billion is humanitarian aid. This is a record amount of financial assistance within such a short period of time since the end of World War II. For comparison, Israel received $8.6 billion in US aid in 2022-2023.

The UK Ministry of Defense has showcased the training of Ukrainian soldiers. In the video one can see a simulation of urban combat. Covered with a smoke screen produced by a tank, armored vehicles approach some buildings; Ukrainian soldiers emerge from behind the screen and start assaulting the building: they blow up the doors, get inside and mop up the place. Their approach mirrors that of police special forces. Their actions look like those by NATO forces in Iraq or Afghanistan. In Ukraine, such operations are extremely rare. As a rule, the enemy is forced out of the building with artillery, tank or mortar barrage which is followed by mopping up and mine clearance in a practically empty, often almost fully destroyed building.

Twenty-two Ukrainian servicemen have returned from captivity, including 20 enlisted soldiers and NCOs and two officers. There are no reports of Russian PoWs returning from Ukrainian captivity.

Mediazona [independent Russian media outlet] and BBC News Russian, in collaboration with a team of volunteers, continue counting confirmed Russian losses. We believe that it would not be entirely accurate to refer to it solely as the count of killed Russian servicemen, as it includes, among other, convicts, for whom the wounded-to-killed ratio is very different. It would be more correct to call this count the overall human losses of the Russian side. It is worth noting that it does not include killed volunteer fighters from the “LPR” and ”DPR” as there is almost no information available on them. As of Aug. 3, the reported death toll is 29,217. Subtracting 2.5 thousand Wagner Group mercenaries and tentative 4 thousand Wagner convicts (we believe that only a fraction of 5.5 killed convicts were associated with the Storm-Z units of the Russian MoD), we get 22 thousand killed servicemen confirmed by obituaries. Using our methodology, which we explained earlier, we get up to 60 thousand killed and 180 thousand wounded Russian servicemen.

The Chief of Staff of the Wagner Group with the call sign Marx has claimed that 78,000 mercenaries participated in the current invasion, with 49,000 of them being former convicts. As of the seizure of Bakhmut on May 20, 22,000 mercenaries were killed and 40,000 were wounded, resulting in an approximate wounded-to-killed ratio of 2:1.

Russian losses in total:

Killed: Roughly 60,000 soldiers + 22,000 Wagner Group members = 80,000 people.

Wounded: About 180,000 soldiers + 40,000 Wagner Group members = 220,000 people.

Therefore, the cumulative tally of killed and wounded on the Russian side, which can be designated as the total losses, exceeds 300,000 people at the moment. It's worth noting that those repeatedly wounded might be counted several times in this calculation.

There are no similar projects for assessing Ukrainian losses, conducting counts of confirmed casualties, so we tried to rely on indirect data.

The Kyiv-based Hope Foundation (Health of the Ukrainian People) reported that 200,000 Ukrainians were seriously injured, with amputations occurring in 10% of cases. At the same time, according to the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights as of July 31, 2023, 16,646 civilians in Ukraine have been wounded. Given the likelihood of these figures being incomplete, rounding the count of injured civilians to 20,000 seems a reasonable approximation. Subtracting this from the total, the number of wounded military personnel amounts to around 180,000. For the AFU, a reasonable wounded-to-killed ratio is considered to be 1:4. Applying this ratio, we can estimate that approximately 45,000 Ukrainian military personnel have been killed in the war.

An alternative, more simplified calculation method can be applied: at the close of 2022, our estimation of Ukrainian losses stood at 10,000 killed and 15,000 missing, culminating in 25,000 total killed and 100,000 wounded. Employing linear extrapolation based solely on the number of days would likewise yield approximately 45,000 deaths and 170,000 injuries.
Upon averaging these rough approximations, the range of Ukrainian military losses spans from 40,000 to 50,000 fatalities and between 170,000 to 180,000 injuries.

Hence, while the count of wounded individuals on both sides is similar, the number of fatalities on the Russian side is 1.6 to 2 times higher.