During the Battle of Iwo Jima, which lasted 36 days during World War II, almost 7,000 Marines were slain. According to American intelligence estimates, the Russian military has already lost more men in the Ukraine, 20 days after President Vladimir V. Putin launched an invasion of the country.
The conservative side of the calculation, which puts the number of Russian army casualties at more than 7,000, is more than the total number of American personnel killed in Iraq and Afghanistan over the course of two decades.
According to American authorities, it is a remarkable figure accumulated in only three weeks of action, and it has consequences for the combat capability of Russian troops, particularly men in tank formations, in the future. According to Pentagon authorities, a single unit’s loss rate of 10%, which includes both dead and injured soldiers, makes it impossible to carry out combat-related responsibilities effectively.
Due to the fact that more than 150,000 Russian soldiers are currently fighting alongside Ukrainian forces, Russian losses, including the projected 14,000 to 21,000 wounded, are approaching that number. According to Ukrainian, NATO, and Russian authorities, the Russian military has also suffered the loss of at least three generals throughout the conflict.
The number of war dead is now at an all-time high, according to Pentagon officials, and the figure is expected to continue to rise. According to them, the outcome has been documented in intelligence reports that top officials in the Biden administration see on a daily basis: One recent article focused on poor morale among Russian forces, and reported soldiers just parking their cars and heading out into the woods to get away from the fighting.
For example, American military and intelligence officers know how many people are typically in a tank and can predict the number of losses when an armoured vehicle is struck by, say, a Javelin anti-tank missile, based on that information.
According to the Russian military, the high number of losses explains in large part why Russia’s much-vaunted force has been virtually stopped outside of Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital.
“However, it is just for the ground troops,” she said. Mr. Putin has increasingly relied on aerial attacks to assault Ukrainian cities, residential structures, hospitals, and even schools as the Russian ground troops have been thrown into disarray. Officials claim that the Russian military’s poor performance on the ground has been masked by the aerial bombardment they have conducted. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said this week that around 1,300 Ukrainian troops had been killed in the conflict in eastern Ukraine.
There are several indicators of Russia’s difficulties. Russian news outlets said late last week that Mr. Putin had placed two of his senior intelligence officers under house arrest, according to their sources. According to Andrei Soldatov, a Russian security services specialist, the officers, who are in charge of the Fifth Agency of Russia’s primary intelligence service, the FSB, were probed because they provided inadequate information before of the invasion, according to the official.
Mr. Putin’s “operation” in Ukraine, which he refuses to refer to as a war or an invasion, may be receiving just the information that Mr. Putin wants people to hear from their government. Since the beginning of the crisis, Putin has maintained tight control over Russian news channels; state media has not reported on the majority of victims and has downplayed the extent of the devastation.
Following initial reports from the Ukrainian government, NATO authorities verified the deaths of the four generals, with one of the killings being recognised by Russian President Vladimir Putin in a speech. General Andrei Kolesnikov, a commander from Russia’s eastern military sector; Major General Vitaly Gerasimov, first deputy commander of the 41st Combined Arms Army; and Major General Andrei Sukhovetsky, deputy commander of the 41st Combined Arms Army have all been named as those responsible.
Major General Oleg Mityaev, the commander of the 150th motorised rifle division, was killed in combat, according to Ukrainian authorities, who announced the death on Wednesday.
According to two senior American military sources, several Russian generals are communicating through unprotected phones and radios. It was claimed that in at least one incident, the Ukrainians intercepted a general’s phone conversation, geolocated it, and then bombed his position, killing both the commander and his staff.
It is possible that civic groups similar to those that raised awareness about army deaths and injuries during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan would regain popularity if the number of Russian military fatalities continues to climb.
However, according to some military experts and parliamentarians, the Russian toll is unlikely to have an impact on Mr. Putin’s plan.
Rep. Jason Crow, a Democrat from Colorado who serves on the House Armed Services and Intelligence committees, said in an interview that “it is shocking,” adding that “the Russians haven’t even gotten to the worst of it” when it comes to urban battle in cities.
“I don’t believe it will have an influence on Putin’s decision-making,” Mr. Crow said. “He is not ready to accept defeat. He’s been forced into a corner and will continue to send soldiers to deal with the situation.”