Since the start of Russia's invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, as many as 80,000 Russian troops have been wounded or killed during fighting, the Pentagon said Monday.
Colin Kahl, undersecretary of defense for policy, told reporters that the U.S. casualty estimate is "pretty remarkable considering that the Russians have achieved none of [Russian President] Vladimir Putin's objectives at the beginning of the war." The overall objective, Kahl added, "was to overrun the entire country, to engage in regime change in Kyiv, to snuff out Ukraine as an independent sovereign and democratic nation. None of that has happened."
It was estimated by Western officials that about 150,000 Russian troops were stationed near Ukraine's border at the start of the war. The Washington-based think tank the Institute for the Study of War said that in recent months, several volunteer battalions have been created in Russia, and more than 30,000 volunteers could make their way to the battlefield.
The Pentagon did not share any estimates on how many Ukrainian soldiers have been killed or injured. "The Ukrainian morale and will to fight is unquestioned and much higher, I think, than the average morale and will to fight on the Russian side," Kahl said. "So I think that gives the Ukrainians a significant advantage."