Today marks a full month since Russia started its invasion of its neighboring country Ukraine. While Moscow anticipated a swift victory, Russian forces have encountered a formidable adversary. The military forces of Ukraine have thwarted many of Putin’s plans, including seizing the capital city of Kyiv.
Though Ukraine has suffered devastating losses, primarily from attacks on civilian targets, Russian troops have died in the thousands. According to PBS, NATO estimated on Wednesday, March 23, that anywhere between 7,000–15,000 Russian soldiers have been killed in the four weeks of fighting. By comparison, Russia lost about 15,000 troops over ten years in Afghanistan.
A senior NATO official said the estimate was based on information provided by Ukrainian authorities and open-sourced intelligence, not Russian sources.
The invading forces have been slowed or even stopped by fast-moving Ukrainian units armed with weapons supplied by Western nations. Putin’s troops are attacking targets from a distance, mainly through air and ground shelling. These are the same tactics used in destroying cities in Syria and Chechnya. Upon leaving for an emergency summit with European allies to discuss sanctions and military aid, U.S. President Biden warned there was a “real threat” that Russia could use chemical weapons in Ukraine.
It has also been determined that Russia has committed war crimes in their invasion. This is because of Putin’s deliberate attacks on civilian targets, such as apartment buildings, schools, hospitals, shopping centers, and other sites.
Russian objectives in the campaign have not been achieved. The capital of Kyiv has not fallen, although the city has been constantly bombarded. The southern port city of Mariupol has seen the worst of the war. It is encircled, and its population has dwindled from 430,000 to 100,000 civilians.
As per CNN, the death toll of Russian forces is especially evident in the Mykolaiv region, which was among one of the first regional capitals to be attacked after the invasion. Ukrainian troops forced their opponents out but left a trail of charred tanks and combat vehicles. When the Russians retreated, they left their dead behind.
Vitaly Kim, the region’s governor, sent CNN pictures of the abandoned corpses, adding: “There are hundreds of them, all over the region.” This poses a significant problem as winter turns to spring and temperatures are well above freezing.
No one knows for sure how many Russian troops have died in Ukraine. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told CNN on Tuesday: “As far as the numbers are concerned, we agreed from the very beginning that we do not divulge the information.”