Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky announced Sunday he is firing Defense Minister Aleksey Reznikov (Gateway reported) in the face of massive losses and halting Ukrainian “counter-offensive”. Reznikov said the West has provided Ukraine with $100 billion in arms, including $50 billion from the USA. Ukraine claimed it had pierced the first line of Russian defenses in the south of Ukraine, as the BBC acknowledged “a dramatic rise in Ukraine’s number of dead”.
On Sunday Volodymr Zelensky Zelensky said the Defense Ministry “needs new approaches and new formats of interaction both with the military and society as a whole.” He said he would propose Rustem Umerov, current head of the State Property Fund of Ukraine, to the Ukrainian Rada (parliament) this week.
Defense Minister Aleksey Reznikov wrote that he had submitted his letter of resignation to the Chairman of the Parliament of Ukraine Ruslan Stefanchuk. In an interview with state media platform Ukrinform, Reznikov estimated that Ukraine’s Western backers have given Kiev at least $100 billion worth of weapons, including more than $50 billion from the US alone.
I have submitted my letter of resignation to Ruslan Stefanchuk @r_stefanchuk, Chairman of the Parliament of Ukraine @verkhovna_rada
It was an honor to serve the Ukrainian people and work for the #UAarmy for the last 22 months, the toughest period of Ukraine’s modern history.
— Oleksii Reznikov (@oleksiireznikov) September 4, 2023
Over the weekend, intense fighting continued in the Robotyne area, with Ukraine claiming the village had been taken and Russia claiming all attacks had been repelled. The Russian Ministry of Defense claimed Ukraine lost 570 men on Sept. 1 and 655 men on Sept. 2. Russia claimed Ukraine had lost 43,000 men in the first two months of the counter-offensive. Daily casualty reports by the Russian Ministry of Defense put the Ukrainian losses in August at over 16,000, meaning total Ukrainian losses in the the counter-offensive of approx. 60,000.
As Ukrainian losses mount, Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar threatened anyone who releases casualty numbers with criminal prosecution.
“Severe AFU (Armed Forces of Ukraine) manpower losses in the course of so-called ‘counteroffensive’ are caused by the Russian Forces effective strikes at Ukrainian armored hardware at distant approaches”, the Russian Ministry of Defense claimed. “AFU formation command purposefully throws manpower in assaults as cannon fodder to cross Russian Forces minefields on foot with no fire support.”
The Ukraine Ministry of Defense claims that Russian figures of Ukrainan losses are wildly exaggerated.
The Law of Leopard Conservation.
The number of destroyed Leopards in the russian ministry of defense’s daily reports does is not correlated in any way to the number of Leopard 2A4 tanks in the Ukrainian Armed Forces.
🎥 33rd Mechanized Brigade pic.twitter.com/HCUIOii7Nj
— Defense of Ukraine (@DefenceU) September 2, 2023
The BBC’s Quentin Sommerville reported “a dramatic rise in Ukraine’s number of dead,” according to new estimates by unnamed US officials. Sommerville is one of the few journalists reporting from the front lines, “where the grim task of counting the dead has become a daily reality”, he writes.
“The unknown soldiers lie piled high in a small brick mortuary, not very far from the front line in Donetsk, where 26-year-old Margo has the thankless job of counting the dead.”
“Soldiers lie piled high in a small brick mortuary”
“Ukraine gives no official toll of its war dead – the Ukrainian armed forces have reiterated that their war casualty numbers are a state secret – but Margo knows the losses are huge,” Sommerville reports.
Estimates put the number of Ukrainian casualties between 70,000 and 400,000. The Ukraine Ministry of Defense claims 264,660 Russian casualties since beginning of the war, but other estimates put the number at 50-60,000. Russian President Vladimir Putin has claimed an 8 to 1 casualty ratio in favor of Russia. “They are throwing (their soldiers) on our minefields, under our artillery fire, acting as if they are not their own citizens at all. It is astonishing,” Putin said.
“The hardest is when you see a dead young guy who hasn’t even reached 20, 22 years old. And realizing they didn’t die their own death,” Margo told the BBC’s Sommerville. “They were killed. They were killed for their own land. That’s the most painful. You cannot get used to this. It’s now getting to the point where it’s just about (helping) the boys reach home.”
The most difficult day of her life, Margo told the BBC, was when her 23-year old husband Andrii was brought into the mortuary on 29 December 2022. “He died while defending his motherland,” Margo says. “But then, for the umpteenth time, I’ve convinced myself that I should be here, I should be helping the fallen.”
— коля1975 (@ososff_osoff) August 29, 2023
Sommerville spoke to a deputy battalion commander of the 68th Jaeger Brigade near Kupyansk in the north. The man goes by the call-sign “Lermontov” and was in a “grim mood,” as he expected the war to last “another 10 years.”
On August 1, the brigade’s sergeant major and two other sergeants were killed in a single Russian mortar strike, Sommerville reports. “He was a legend,” Lermontov told him.
“As we spoke, Lermontov’s phone buzzed. It was the mother of a soldier killed the week before. She wanted to know why young men with guns were being sent to attack Russian trenches if Ukraine had been gifted so much modern Western weaponry. But on this 600-mile front line many brigades lack the latest armored vehicles or long-range guns. The reality is that in many of the trenches, Ukrainian soldiers have to make do. “I don’t have an answer for her, she doesn’t understand… we don’t have everything,” Lermontov told Sommerville.
Sommerville asked Colonel named Oleksii of the 68th Jaeger Brigade what he tells the families of the fallen. “I just ask for forgiveness that I have not provided enough safety. Maybe I was a bad leader, bad planning. And I thank them for what they gave for this fight.”
Foreign Mercenaries Head for the Hills
Foreign fighters in Ukraine report “a mismanaged and chaotic Ukrainian military using ill conceived tactics”. ZeroHedge writes. “Some say that the units they were assigned to have lost 80% or more of their men in recent months. Ukraine military leadership has also been misusing their fleet of tanks and armored vehicles from NATO, sending them ‘straight into mine fields’ in some cases. As volunteers note, the Ukrainians were given training on how to operate the vehicles, but no training on how to use them effectively in a fight. “
ZeroHedge also quotes “a flurry of reports” suggesting that “friendly fire has been doing significant damage, so much so that “mercenaries” have taken to covering themselves in reflective blue or yellow tape so that they aren’t mistaken for Russian troops.”
One potential explanation is the decrease in foreign fighters, ZeroHedge writes. Approx. 20,000 mercenaries (many combat veterans) were thought to be fighting with Ukraine in 2022.
The question remains how many foreign fighters are actually Western combat troops send by the Brandon Regime and its allies to conduct covert warfare without congressioonal approval. “At least one General out of the UK let slip that Royal Marine units were in fact deployed on high risk operations in Ukraine. Sources also indicate that US special operations teams have been stationed out of the US embassy in Kyiv since the beginning of the war”,” ZeroHedge writes. “The presence of highly trained western covert ops troops in Ukraine would help explain the far more effective offensive in 2022.”
Official PMC numbers fell from 20,000 in 2022 to as low as 1500 this year, ZeroHedge reports. “Heavy casualties, high odds of friendly fire and lack of protection under the Geneva Convention are likely causes for the abrupt decline in foreign mercenaries in Ukraine in 2023. “
“Is Ukraine relying almost entirely on veteran fighters from Europe and the US to do their dirty work? Recent losses and disorganization in tandem with the decline in overseas volunteers indicate that this may be the case.“
Poland has now started extraditing Ukrainian draft dodgers, Rzeczpospolita reports. Rzeczpospolita estimates about 80,000 unregistered Ukrainians are hiding in Poland. “If we detain such a foreigner, for example, during a simple check on the road, our National Police Information System will show that he is wanted by the Ukrainian Prosecutor’s Office, because Interpol data feature there. We detain such a person, inform the prosecutor’s office, and the court decides on the extradition,” Polish police spokesperson Mariusz Czarka explained.