A pro-Kremlin news site reported, and then deleted, a stunningly high tally of the number of Russian soldiers killed in Ukraine — adding to the impression that Russia is bleeding out in the war.
A wounded Russia may prove even more dangerous than a triumphant Russia.
HOW MANY RUSSIANS ARE DYING
A month after Moscow launched the invasion of Ukraine with some 190,000 troops, a number of estimates by involved parties have put Russian casualties at levels that were almost just weeks ago.
RUSSIA: The Russian tabloid Komsomolskaya Pravda reported Monday that, according to the Russian Defense Ministry, 9,861 Russian troops had died and over 10,000 had been wounded in the war.
Komsomolskaya Pravda, the pro-Kremlin tabloid, says that according to Russian ministry of defense numbers, 9,861 Russian soldiers died in Ukraine and 16,153 were injured. The last official Russian KIA figure, on March 2, was 498. Fascinating that someone posted the leaked number. pic.twitter.com/LHrBWIQ49z
— Yaroslav Trofimov (@yarotrof) March 21, 2022
That was way up from the 498 deaths the Defense Ministry reported three weeks ago.
- Later Monday, Komsomolskaya Pravda deleted the dire statistics and claimed hackers had inserted them into the article.
UKRAINE: The Ukraine Defense Ministry reported Tuesday that around 15,300 Russian soldiers had been killed during the invasion.
NATO: A senior NATO military official assessed Wednesday that between 7,000 and 15,000 Russian troops had died in Ukraine.
BY COMPARISON: In 36 days of fighting on Iwo Jima during World War II, nearly 7,000 U.S. Marines were killed.
- Russia lost about 15,000 troops over 10 years in Afghanistan.”
The U.S. has estimated that at least 5,000 civilians have died in Ukraine, where Russia has hit apartment buildings, schools and hospitals in increasingly indiscriminate shelling.
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT
While Russian President Vladimir Putin’s unexpected failure to swiftly conquer his neighbor has been celebrated in the West, analysts have warned that the stalemate could lead to escalating bloodshed.
- At minimum, Russia is expected to step up its shelling of Ukrainian cities in a bid to force maximum concessions from Ukraine.
- And there is the possibility that Putin could become frustrated enough to reach for other weapons: chemical, biological, nuclear and cyber.
- If Putin comes to feel his regime is at risk, Russian military doctrine calls for first use of nuclear weapons.