While the Russian army has turned its attention towards the east of Ukraine in recent days – where the Kremlin hoped victory would come more easily – the target country’s forces are still fighting back valiantly.
On Thursday, the Russian defence ministry even admitted that its flagship Black Sea missile cruiser, a key symbol of the invasion which led the naval assault on Ukraine, was “seriously damaged” and the “entire crew have been evacuated”.
However, Russia has only attributed this to an unexplained fire, and claims the ship was still afloat. Ukraine alleges that it had targeted the boat with missiles and that it even appeared to sink at one point.
Neither claim has been verified as yet, but both stories add to the growing speculation that war is not going in Russia’s direction.
And that’s not the only indication that all is not well in the Russian camp.
The UK’s ministry of defence tweeted on Wednesday that “Russia’s plan in Ukraine is failing”, pointing out that at least six Russian generals have been killed in action during the conflict. There is also evidence that Russian soldiers are turning on and attacking their commanders.
It claims that 2,151 Russian vehicles, artillery pieces and aircraft have been damaged, abandoned, destroyed or captured – “over three times that of Ukraine”.
Units have been forced to return to Belarus, the European country which is Moscow’s main ally, as well as Russia to “reorganise and resupply”.
There have also been reports that Russian soldiers have accidentally shot down their own aircraft.
The MoD has continually indicated that Russia is not in an ideal position through its daily updates over the last seven weeks.
On Thursday, it pointed out that the widespread missile and artillery strike, along with efforts to concentrate forces for an offensive in eastern Ukraine, will require “significant force levels” – a difficult feat considering the losses it has sustained so far.
It added: “Ukraine’s continued defence of Mariupol is currently typing down significant numbers of Russian troops and equipment.”
A Ukrainian publication, The Kyiv Independent, also published a update on how much the Ukrainian Armed Forces believes Russia has lost since the war began in February:
Around 19,900 troops
366 artillery pieces
1,968 armoured personnel carriers
4 mobile SRBM systems
76 fuel tanks
64 anti-aircraft warcraft
25 special equipment
However, Igor Konashenkov of the Russian ministry of defence, is still claiming that the “special military operation is going strictly according to the approved plan”.