At least 7,000 Russian troops have now died in the fighting – while another 14,000 to 21,000 have been wounded, according to estimates from the Pentagon. This would account for nearly a fifth of the estimated 150,000 troops from Russia massed on the border of Ukraine before Vladimir Putin gave the order to attack on February 24. The eye-watering figures is already around double the NATO losses in Afghanistan over two decades of fierce fighting and roughly equal to US casualties in the 36-day battle of Iwo Jima – one of the deadliest clashes in the Pacific during World War 2.
US intelligence reportedly believes the Russian losses are now so severe that some of its units cannot continue fighting.
This would align with an assessment from British intelligence, which said today (Thursday) Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has stalled “on all fronts” with “minimal progress on land, sea or air” in the last 24 hours while continuing to “suffer heavy losses”.
Northeastern and northwestern suburbs of the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv have been reduced to rubble following several days of deadly fighting.
But the city itself has held relatively firm, under a curfew and subjected to deadly nightly rocket attacks.
The UK Ministry of Defence said: “The Russian invasion of Ukraine has largely stalled on all fronts.
“Russian forces have made minimal progress on land, sea or air in recent days and they continue to suffer heavy losses.
“Ukrainian resistance remains staunch and well-coordinated.
“The vast majority of Ukrainian territory, including all major cities, remains in Ukrainian hands.”
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One said: “Not only is it not going as it was planned, but even as they have adjusted to a rather more grinding form of warfare, that is stalling as well.
“There is very encouraging resistance from the Ukrainians.”
Another added: “We’re continuing to see that Russian forces are continuing to make little bits of progress here and there but they’re not achieving any strategic breakthrough at any point.
“Their ground forces are still quite heavily tied to Ukraine’s road network, which obviously constrains them to a degree.
“Their off-road manoeuvre is pretty limited and that means is that Ukrainians have been able to destroy some infrastructure, some bridges for example, and also to ambush Russian columns.
“All that means Russia’s advance has been slowed very substantially.”
Ukraine’s spirited resistance has been significantly boosted by military supplies provided by several other countries.
Vast amounts of defensive equipment has been deployed to help on the front line, as well as thousands of anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons.
Kyiv is yet to fall, but Western officials have warned it would be “very costly” for Russia to try and take control – and Putin could increasingly be considering his options on how to best advance as a result of the struggles encountered so far.
One said: “To do so, in my judgement, with or without bombardment would be very costly for Russia.”