An estimated 70,000 to 80,000 people have been killed since Russian forces first invaded Ukraine in late February, a top Pentagon policy official said Monday.
“The Russians are taking massive casualties,” Colin Kahl, undersecretary of defense for policy, told reporters.
“There is a lot of fog in the war but I think it is safe to suggest that the Russians may have killed 70 or 80,000 people in less than six months. Now, it’s a combination of killed in action and wounded in action, and that number could be a little bit lower, a little bit higher, but I think that’s where it’s at in the ballpark,” Kahl said.
However, Burns acknowledged that intelligence estimates of battlefield casualties are “always a range” and “there is no absolute number.”
Russia suffered heavy casualties in the first phase of its offensive when it attempted but failed to capture Kyiv and parts of western Ukraine from 24 February. As in Donbas, long-range weapons are used to strike targets.
Kahl said the Russian death toll was “remarkable” given that Moscow had “achieved none of Vladimir Putin’s goals” since invading Ukraine six months ago.
He credited Ukrainian morale and will to fight, which he said was “unquestionable and much higher than the average morale and will to fight on the Russian side.”
“I think this gives the Ukrainian people a significant advantage,” Kahl added.