Up to 40,000 Russian troops have been wounded, captured, killed, or are missing in Ukraine since the Russian invasion of its neighboring nation began, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) said, according to a senior military official familiar with the matter.
The Wall Street Journal reported that NATO believes no less than 7,000 and up to 15,000 Russian soldiers have been killed since the conflict began almost one month ago. The organization calculated the totals based on information from both Ukraine and Russia.
At the beginning of the invasion, Russia had around 190,000 troops. Additional troops from Chechnya, Syria and other locations have joined Russian forces, as well.
In an article published on Sunday, the Russian tabloid Komsomolskaya Pravda cited a Russian defense ministry assessment of 9,861 Russian troops killed and another 16,153 injured in the fighting. The article has since been updated with the casualty assessments removed, but an archived version of the article shows the earlier Russian casualty assessment
On Wednesday, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said “hundreds of thousands” of NATO allied troops were on heightened alert across the entire alliance.
“NATO has acted with speed and unity to protect and defend all Allies,” Stoltenberg said. “There are now hundreds of thousands of Allied troops at heightened readiness across the Alliance. One hundred thousand U.S. troops in Europe and 40,000 forces under direct NATO command, mostly in the eastern part of the alliance, all backed by major air and naval power, including five carrier strike groups in the High North and in the Mediterranean.”
Stoltenberg said NATO will hold a summit later this week and he expects the alliance will strengthen its posture across all domains, including “major increases to our forces in the eastern part of the Alliance on land, in the air, and at sea.”
“The first step is the deployment of four new NATO battlegroups in Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania, and Slovakia, along with our existing forces in the Baltic countries and Poland,” Stoltenberg said. “This means that we will have eight multinational NATO battlegroups all along the eastern flank from the Baltic to the Black Sea.”
Earlier this week, the Ukrainian military shared what it said was an intercepted call from a Russian officer leading invading troops in the Ukrainian city of Mykolaiv who said half of his troops had frostbite. He added that they were struggling to evacuate their dead and provide enough tents for those still alive. A U.S. military official also said the U.S. has assessed Russian troops are suffering from frostbite
“We’ve picked up some indications that some of their soldiers are suffering from frostbite because they lack the appropriate cold-weather gear for the environment that they’re in,” the senior defense official said. “They haven’t — in addition to food and fuel, even in terms of personal equipment for some of their troops they’re having trouble, and we’ve picked up indications that some troops have actually suffered and taken out of the fight because of frostbite.”