By Nicole Silverio
American intelligence estimates reportedly found that over 7,000 Russian troops were killed in the first three weeks of war.
The number, thought to be a conservative estimate, has already exceeded the deaths of American troops in both Iraq and Afghanistan in the span of 20 years, The New York Times reported. Pentagon officials say Russian troops are nearing a ten-percent casualty rate, which they say leads troops to inefficiently fight in combat.
Russian troops have lost three generals in just three weeks of time, the outlet reported. Ukrainian and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) officials identified Russia’s eastern military district commander, Maj. Gen. Andrei Kolesnikov, along with Maj. Gen. Vitaly Gerasimov and Maj. Gen. Andrei Sukhovetsky, and determined they were all killed in combat.
Ukrainian officials also reported the death of Maj. Gen. Oleg Mityaev, who served as the commander of the 150th motorized rifle division, on Wednesday, the Times reported.
7000 Russian troops killed after three weeks? That’s almost half the 15,000 Soviet troops killed during the whole of their time in Afghanistan https://t.co/mNa48t1m0b
— Rob Crilly (@robcrilly) March 17, 2022
Officials warned the estimates are not an exact number, as they used reports collected through the media, plus Ukrainian and Russian figures, the Times reported. (RELATED: Deputy Secretary Of State Predicts The War Will End ‘Very Badly For Ukrainian People’)
Senior officials in President Joe Biden’s administration obtained a recent report that said soldiers are “just parking their vehicles and walking off into the woods.”
“Losses like this affect morale and unit cohesion,” Evelyn Farkas, a top Obama-era Pentagon official for Russia and Ukraine, said. “Your overall situational awareness decreases. Someone’s got to drive, someone’s got to shoot.”
The casualties may partly explain the reasoning behind Russian forces so far being unsuccessful in capturing the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv. Ukrainian citizens have aggressively defended their country. The Kremlin has found more success by attacking from the skies, which has arguably made up for their poor war performance on the ground.
Ret. Army Gen. Keith Kellogg told Fox News in late February that Russian forces have been “slow” and “delayed” despite the expectation that Russian President Vladimir Putin would instantly overthrow the country shortly after the invasion. He warned, however, that Ukrainians are largely outnumbered by the Russians despite their arguably successful resistance.
Shortly after the invasion, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy told the U.S. he needs “ammunition, not a ride.” U.S. officials offered to evacuate the president, to which he rejected. Biden administration officials rejected Zelenskyy’s request for Congress to provide MiG jets and a no-fly zone.
Biden signed a $800 million assistance package to Ukraine, providing 2,000 Javelins, light-anti-armor weapons and AT-4 anti-armor systems, and millions of small arms ammunition and grenade launcher and mortar rounds, according to the White House.