NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg highlighted Ukraine’s inability to shift the front line despite substantial NATO support, emphasizing that this underscores the importance of not underestimating Russia’s capabilities.
“Even with this substantial significant military support from NATO Allies, [Ukraine has] not, over the last year, been able to move the front line. And that just reflects the fact that we should never underestimate Russia,” Stoltenberg said in a statement.
He highlighted the performance of Russia’s military industry complex: “Their defense industry is on a war footing. They’re able to resupply their forces with ammunition and new capabilities. They have got a significant amount of ammunition from North Korea, and there is a willingness to sacrifice people in this operation, which also makes it hard to for Ukrainians to achieve the territorial gains we all hope for.”
Addressing the stalemate in the counter-offensive discussed by Ukrainian officials, Stoltenberg said: “This extremely difficult situation along the frontline especially in the in the east, we see high casualty numbers. And some of the most intense fighting that we have seen throughout the whole war has actually taken place over the last weeks and couple of months. This happens at the same time as the frontline has not shifted in a significant way. So I think we need to dis-tinguish between the fact that the front line is not moving so much, and the fact that actually there is very heavy fighting going on.”
He added: “Military achievements can partly be measured in square meters, but also on the losses you are able to inflict on your adversary. And yes, the frontline has not moved so much. And of course, we would like them to liberate as much territory as possible as quickly as possible as possible. But even though the frontline has not moved, the Ukrainians have been able to in-flict heavy losses on the Russian invaders, both measured in personnel and casualties but also in taking out fighting capabilities. So these are significant gains and also they enable to push back the Black Sea Fleet from big parts of the Black Sea.”
As for the losses inflicted by Ukraine on Russia, Kyiv reported that its forces eliminated about 325,580 Russian personnel since the beginning of the invasion on February 24, 2022.
Additionally, Ukrainian forces destroyed 5,520 tanks, 10,282 armored fighting vehicles, 7,875 artillery systems, 907 multiple rocket launchers, 597 anti-aircraft warfare systems, 323 war-planes, 324 helicopters, 5,905 tactical unmanned aerial systems, 1,565 cruise missiles, 22 war-ships/cutters, 1 submarine, 10,299 trucks and fuel tankers, and 1,113 pieces of special equip-ment.
Separately, British military intelligence reported that the last six weeks have witnessed some of the highest Russian casualty rates of the war in Ukraine so far.