Ukraine: First-person footage reveals warfare in Severodonetsk
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Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine entered its fourth month in June, with Russia having made limited progress in the country since February 24. Moscow failed to meet its early objectives of taking Kyiv earlier this year and has since settled for hardening defences around the self-declared separatist region of the Donetsk People’s Republic. War casualties on Ukraine’s side may mean his forces can eventually move forward, as Volodymyr Zelensky is losing double the soldiers he initially expected.
In May, Mr Zelensky estimated that between 50 and 100 Ukrainian troops were dying in the most combat-heavy regions of his country.
New figures released on June 10 show that, in the month since, at least double the number of Ukrainian troops are dying on the field.
Speaking to the BBC, Mykhaylo Podolyak, a Presidential adviser to Mr Zelensky, said between 100 and 200 soldiers were dying daily.
But these are at the lower end of recent estimates, as the real figures may be four times greater.
Oleksiy Arestovych gave The Guardian a significantly higher estimate, suggesting casualty rates sit between 150 dead and 800 wounded every day.
On June 11, Kyiv said 10,000 troops had died since the invasion started in February.
The total is roughly a twelfth of Ukraine’s pre-invasion army, which was 125,000 troops strong.
Losses like this would give the country only a few months more of fighting, but troop estimates from the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) suggest it could last far longer.
The IISS produced a new estimated troop total of 500,000, combining numbers of national and border guards with international assistance.
Some of those now serving are foreign volunteers with the international legion who have arrived on the frontlines quickly after passing their tests.
If Ukraine continued to lose troops at its current rate, an army of this size would be able to continue fighting for years to come.
That would give them the edge over Russia, which has sustained significant troop losses and morale damage since the invasion began.
How many troops has Russia lost?
Moscow’s army far outmatches Ukraine’s in size and equipment and has waged its war on several fronts, often from a distance with artillery.
Nevertheless, estimates of Russian troop losses are up to twice as high.
Western officials have highlighted a dire situation for Russia, which may have lost a fifth of its invasion force.
Mr Arestovych said the country entered Ukraine with 150,000 troops and has lost 30,000.
UK intelligence reports suggest roughly half have died, approximately 15,000.
Ultimately, casualty estimates on either side of the conflict are difficult to corroborate, as they are disguised by several factors.
The fog of war will prevent officials from taking accurate readings, while propaganda may distort even those.
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