Russian forces have come up against fierce resistance from the Ukrainian army from the very first day of their invasion. The Russians have suffered heavy casualties as they struggle to fulfil any of their military objectives. The Ukrainian military claims that over 14,000 Russian soldiers have lost their lives, while the US estimates around half that figure.
Reports emanating from hospitals in Belarus paint a grim picture of Russian casualties in terms of both the number of dead and those suffering horrific injuries.
In the city of Mazyr, located roughly 60 kilometres from the border with Ukraine, eyewitnesses told Radio Liberty that the morgues were “overflowing” with corpses.
One resident of the city recounted seeing “black sacks” being loaded from military ambulances onto Russian railway carriages.
He said: “Passengers at the Mazyr train station were shocked by the number of corpses being loaded on the train.”
After someone filmed the transfer of bodies onto the trains and posted it to the internet, the Russian military decided to use the cover of darkness to transport their fallen back to their motherland.
A doctor from one of the city’s main hospitals explained: “Earlier, the corpses were transported by ambulances and loaded on Russian trains.
“After someone made a video about it and it went on the Internet, the bodies were loaded at night so as not to attract attention.”
Many Russian soldiers have suffered terrible injuries and disfigurement from the fierce fighting.
A resident who was treated at Hospital No.4 in the Belarus city of Homel told of having to listen to the screams of wounded troops.
They said: “There are so many wounded Russians there — it’s just a horror.
“Terribly disfigured. It is impossible to listen to their moans throughout the whole hospital.”
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Russia’s advances remained confined to territorial gains around Mariupol on March 18, according to the Mose recent analysis from the Institute for the Study of War.
The experts said that Ukrainian forces had conducted a major successful counterattack around Mykolayiv in the past several days.
They also noted that Vladimir Putin’s army faces “growing morale and supply problems, including growing reports of self-mutilation among Russian troops to avoid deployment to Ukraine and shortages of key guided munitions.”
Ukrainian intelligence reported approximately 130 personnel of the 20th Motor Rifle Division (of the 8th Combined Arms Army) refused to deploy to Ukraine and participate in combat operations.
The Ukrainian General Staff also reported the Kremlin plans to remove Colonel Vadym Pankov, commander of the 45th Special Brigade due to his ”failure to perform a combat mission at Hostomel airfield”.
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This may refer to Russia’s failed airborne landing at Hostomel in the first 72 hours of the war.
This is the first confirmed dismissal of a Russian general for their performance in Ukraine.
It comes as the death of another top general was announced on Saturday. The Kremlin has now lost five senior officers in its military campaign.
Lieutenant-General Andrei Mordvichev, commander of the 8th Combined Arms Army, died in fighting at Chornobaivka, near the southern city of Kherson.
Ukraine’s General Staff of the Armed Forces said in a statement: “As a result of fire on the enemy by the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the commander of the 8th All-Military Army of the Southern Military District of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, Lieutenant-General Andrey Mordvishev was killed.”