2023 marks one of the most grueling years of conventional warfare seen since the Iran-Iraq War. Russia and Ukraine, both currently at a military statement, are now facing a war of attrition.

Ukraine and Russia are currently facing shortfalls in logistics, and critical supply chains are needed for either country to progress toward victory. Going into 2024, both countries look to score crucial victories as wartime economies, geopolitical shifts, and economic woes take effect.

The War in Ukraine in 2023

In early 2023, the Russian military was on the offensive on several critical fronts along the Donbas region. Offensives near Kupiansk and Lyman weren’t successful, with Vuhledar being the most disastrous.

Other Russian offensives conducted by the Wagner Group, such as Soledar and Bakhmut, were successful. Still, both victories came at a pyrrhic price due to extreme manpower losses, infighting, and mercenary mutiny that came with it.

Ukraine would spend the first half of 2023 waiting to go on the offensive as Kyiv waited for more Western logistics. The slow pace of supplies by partner nations lost valuable time for the Ukrainian forces as their summer counteroffensive went later than the scheduled time, and Russian forces used the extra time to dig in.

The summer counteroffensive did not go as planned for Ukraine, as no strategic objective was met, such as the liberation of Tokmak, Mariupol, Melitopol, or Berdyansk. Attacking the heavily fortified Suvorikin lines cost Kyiv valuable time. Without proper air support, due to a lack of logistics by Western states, Ukraine mustered what it could towards the second line of defense, where its forces remain bogged down today.

Ukraine did achieve an objective through attrition, crippling the Black Sea Fleet to where the Russian fleet may move to occupied Abkhazia, and Moscow suffered heavy losses, with the US confirming 315,000 casualties since February 2022. As of now, neither side can score a crippling victory, and until the next sprint, many offensives will be localized instead of centralized.