Russian losses on the battlefield are “unsustainable” and they will not be able to defeat Ukraine, a former Irish Army Captain has said.
Estimates of the number of casualties vary but all agree that large numbers of Russian troops have lost their lives fighting in Ukraine:
“If you look at the evidence on the ground, there are some really clear, key signals,” Tom Clonan told The Pat Kenny Show.
“Ukrainians claim that they have killed 17,00 Russians - that they’ve killed them in combat.
“The Russians say that it is 1,300. Normally you pick a mid value between those two in that range and you can get something approximating the truth.
“So based on the claims and counterclaims my estimate would be that the Russians have lost 8,000 troops in combat - now that’s a conservative estimate.
“To put that in context, after nine years of combat in Afghanistan the Soviets lost 15,000. So to lose 8 or 9,000 troops in one month - they’re spectacularly high losses.
“Given the exchange ratio to kill to wounded you can also extrapolate from that that they’ve lost about 24,000 to serious injuries.
“So that gives you a ceiling figure of about 32,000 - which would be approximately one third of their overall combat troops they committed to this operation.
“Those losses are unsustainable and generally when an army loses one third of its people they’re losing.
“And you’re looking at an operation that isn’t achievable.”
Listen and subscribe to The Pat Kenny Show on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts and Spotify.
Moscow insists that it has achieved the “main objectives of the first stage of the operation” and will now concentrate its troops on what it maintains is the “the liberation of Donbass.”
British intelligence has concluded that this is “likely a tacit admission that it is struggling to sustain more than one significant axis of advance.”
Latest Defence Intelligence update on the situation in Ukraine - 30 March 2022
Find out more about the UK government's response: https://t.co/ete9x5Ty71
🇺🇦 #StandWithUkraine 🇺🇦 pic.twitter.com/202UH5Uz8t
— Ministry of Defence 🇬🇧 (@DefenceHQ) March 30, 2022
Similarly, Mr Clonan believes that Russia now has little chance of conquering the whole of Ukraine and as such has no choice but to concentrate on partitioning the Donbas from the rest of the country:
“The original concept of operations… would have been to consolidate their ground in Luhansk and Donetsk,” he continued.
“And possibly… create this land corridor between the Crimean peninsula through Donbas into Russia proper and that’s why you see that awful besieging of Mariupol… to secure that land corridor.
“I think that’s as much as they could hope for but they will be faced with an ongoing Ukrainian - I wouldn’t even call it ‘insurgency’; they have the capacity to counterattack because their own forces haven’t really been compromised.
“I think they will have taken significant casualties but their coherence, their command and control is still there.”
However, whichever way the war ends, Mr Clonan says it is a massive humiliation for the Kremlin and Vladimir Putin:
“This is a spectacular defeat," he said.
“What remains to be seen from these talks [is] what will the political narrative be for Putin?
"What can he salvage from this in order to have a face saving ‘victory’ flowing from this dreadful intervention in Ukraine which breaches all of the Geneva conventions and the laws of conflict.”
Main image: A captured Russian soldier is questioned by Ukrainian Soldiers. Picture by: Justin Yau/ Credit: Sipa USA/Alamy Live News