The war death toll in Russia in 2023 has already exceeded 2,000 and there is no end in sight to the conflict, Ukrainian military officials have said.
According to estimates by Ukraine’s Defense Ministry, in recent days Russia has lost an estimated 2,230 soldiers in just three days of fighting, bringing the Russian death toll to an estimated 108,190 since the war began on February 24, 2022.
However, these figures are already disputed in a conflict where the dead are not easily explained. After a rocket attack in Russian-held eastern Ukraine on Monday that killed about 400 Russians, according to estimates by Ukrainian officials, the Kremlin issued a statement saying the total was closer to 63, prompting the Ukrainian military to do so , to advance the clarification of the number.
Other observers had significant problems estimating the death toll. The independent Russian news agency Mediazona had confirmed the names of just over 10,000 victims in mid-December, although US President Joe Biden’s top military official, General Mark Milley, suggested that both sides had passed the 100,000 death mark in November. Russia, meanwhile, has been reluctant to release its own estimates of the total death toll.
Anger in Russia over the increasing losses is boiling. According to the Institute for the Study of War (ISW), Monday’s strike in the Donetsk region sparked a wave of criticism of the Russian military leadership, which some pro-Russian bloggers have criticized participated so far as to criticize the concentrated placement of the soldiers and to report the death toll, which is significantly higher than the 63 reported by the Russian government.
Meanwhile, the ISW reported that the Russian Defense Ministry was attempting to shift the blame for the incident onto both officials in the occupied Donetsk People’s Republic and soldiers, claiming the strike took place when Russian soldiers “violated operational security by using personal… Using mobile phones, allow Ukrainian forces to perform a precision strike on the base.”
Several of those bloggers, ISW says, referenced on Telegram comments made Dec. 21 by Russian President Vladimir Putin about the need for the Defense Ministry to be accountable and listen to criticism of its failures, while also calling on the Kremlin to punish military leaders responsible for errors in the field.
According to the ISW, these are signs that Putin’s control over the conflict is waning.
“Such profound military failures will further complicate Putin’s efforts to mollify Russia’s pro-war community and maintain the dominant narrative in the domestic information space,” the ISW wrote.
“Russian sources claimed that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the military and investigative committee to investigate the Makiivka incident by January 6. Putin’s inability to address criticism and address the shortcomings in Russia’s military campaign could undermine his credibility as an active war leader.”
news week turned to the Kremlin for comment.
https://www.newsweek.com/russia-loses-more-2000-soldiers-just-3-days-new-year-ukraine-1771053 Russia loses more than 2,000 soldiers just 3 days after the New Year: Ukraine