Russo-Ukrainian War 4/16/22

Aftermath of the disastrous attacks on Hostomel: a Russian BMD-4M on March 4th (image via Ukrainian Ministry of Defense)

Mounting evidence suggests the true scope of Russia’s military incompetence and amateurism, even as Russia attempts to redeploy troops from the Kyiv offensive into the Donbas.

With British and American intelligence increasingly noting the destruction of specific units, Russia has been slow to begin its new offensive beyond sending additional troops into Kharkiv from Belgorod. That being said, the U.S. has warned the offensive may begin soon, and many analysts are waiting for a watershed ‘decisive battle’ to deliver the fate of the Donbas.

Perhaps as a result of failing to gain a foothold in Northern Ukraine, many fleeing Russian troops turned to robbery, taking with them electronics, machinery, clothes, and jewelry. Many of these commodities are luxuries to the average Russian conscript, and Ukrainian forces have been baffled by the sheer absurdity of the burglary, whether using a laptop as a make-shift bulletproof vest or carrying trackable AirPods back to Russian positions.

But lack of combat ability should not be considered a lack of brutality. Russian troops have left entire cities mined, even placing bombs in civilian homes and infrastructure. The effects of this mining will be felt for decades to come, even as atrocities in occupied and recently liberated parts of Ukraine come to light. More and more refugees from contested cities like Mariupol have given harrowing stories of mass killings and the targetting of civilians, with little regard for human life on the side of the Russian army.

There have been an estimated 15,000-60,000 casualties in the war as of yet. Though both estimates are vague and likely extremes, the conclusive fatality count will likely be higher given the lack of progress in negotiations.

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