Ukraine: Thousands of protesters panic Russian forces
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Ukrainian resistance has embarrassed Russia’s advancement, pushing what Putin likely hoped would have been a days-long operation into its second month. The country has received almost unanimous backing from the west, and some of the world’s most powerful militaries have passed their technology and know-how into Eastern Europe. Soldiers have used these tools to devastating effect, inflicting significant losses on the invading forces.
How many Russian troops have died?
Putin launched a well-equipped fighting force over Russia’s border to Ukraine, boasting tanks, planes and artillery.
They have trundled towards Kyiv with a pincer of support from the south via Crimea and north from Belarus.
How many of them have died remains a point of dispute between the east and west.
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky has claimed 16,000 Russian troops had been killed.
In a social media video released on Friday, Zelensky claimed high-ranking commanders were among the casualties.
According to Russia, in a statement released on Friday, March 25, 1,351 soldiers have died during the Ukraine offensive.
The total is just below triple previous estimates from the Kremlin posted on March 2, when it estimated 498 deaths on its end.
Injuries far outnumber fatalities, with up to 3,850 Russian soldiers wounded as of March 25.
These estimates are decidedly more conservative than those provided by western sources.
NATO representatives, speaking a day earlier to Associated Press on March 24, estimated a far greater death toll.
They believed Russian losses had settled somewhere between 7,000 and 14,000, mirroring predictions from Washington on March 14 that first suggested 7,000.
Ukrainian officials have come out with their own estimates closer to the upper range.
In a tweet on March 23, armed forces staff announced 15,000 Russian deaths.
The vast estimates disparity between the east and west will have left some people’s heads spinning.
Russian officials will want to keep their numbers low, given the potential for morale busting that higher death rates might bring.
Recent reports from those near the frontline suggest that commanders are already having trouble keeping their troops in line, given many may reservations about the nature of Putin’s war on their close neighbours.
The west and Ukraine, on the other hand, have a vested interest in keeping their Russian death estimates high.
If local resistance believes it has dented Russian forces, again, morale is more likely to hold.
Information is another tool in a modern conflict, with propaganda flowing from all camps.
In reality, the accurate number of deaths on the Russian and Ukrainian sides will lie somewhere in the middle of both parties’ estimates.
There are battlefield limitations on building a final estimate, given the fractured nature of the current war.
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