The Wall Street Journal reports:
NATO says that up to 40,000 Russian troops have been killed, wounded, taken prisoner or are missing in Ukraine, said a senior military official from the alliance.
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization calculates the figure based on information provided by Ukrainian authorities and information obtained from Russia–both officially and unintentionally, the official said.
NATO estimates that between 7,000 and 15,000 Russian soldiers have been killed since the invasion began on Feb. 24. Using statistical averages from past conflicts that for every casualty roughly three soldiers are wounded, NATO analysts reach their total figure. [Continue reading…]
In January, the head of a group of serving and retired Russian military officers declared that invading Ukraine would be “pointless and extremely dangerous.” It would kill thousands, he said, make Russians and Ukrainians enemies for life, risk a war with NATO and threaten “the existence of Russia itself as a state.”
To many Russians, that seemed like a far-fetched scenario, since few imagined that an invasion of Ukraine was really possible. But two months later, as Russia’s advance stalls in Ukraine, the prophecy looms large. Reached by phone this week, the retired general who authored the declaration, Leonid Ivashov, said he stood by it, though he could not speak freely given Russia’s wartime censorship: “I do not disavow what I said.”
In Russia, the slow going and the heavy toll of President Vladimir V. Putin’s war on Ukraine are setting off questions about his military’s planning capability, his confidence in his top spies and loyal defense minister, and the quality of the intelligence that reaches him. It also shows the pitfalls of Mr. Putin’s top-down governance, in which officials and military officers have little leeway to make their own decisions and adapt to developments in real time.
The failures of Mr. Putin’s campaign are apparent in the striking number of senior military commanders believed to have been killed in the fighting. Ukraine says it has killed at least six Russian generals, while Russia acknowledges one of their deaths, along with that of the deputy commander of its Black Sea fleet. American officials say they cannot confirm the number of Russian troop deaths, but that Russia’s invasion plan appears to have been stymied by bad intelligence.
The lack of progress is so apparent that a blame game has begun among some Russian supporters of the war — even as Russian propaganda claims that the slog is a consequence of the military’s care to avoid harming civilians. Igor Girkin, a former colonel in Russia’s F.S.B. intelligence agency and the former “defense minister” of Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine, said in a video interview posted online on Monday that Russia had made a “catastrophically incorrect assessment” of Ukraine’s forces. [Continue reading…]
Russian climate envoy Anatoly Chubais has stepped down and left the country, citing his opposition to President Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine, according to two people familiar with the situation, becoming the highest-level official to break with the Kremlin over the invasion.
Chubais, 66, is one of the few 1990s-era economic reformers who’d remained in Putin’s government and had maintained close ties with Western officials. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
Known as the architect of Russia’s 1990s privatizations, Chubais gave Putin his first Kremlin job in the mid-1990s and initially welcomed his rise to power at the end of that decade. Under Putin, Chubais took top jobs at big state companies until the president named him envoy for sustainable development last year. [Continue reading…]
Russia’s highly regarded central bank Governor Elvira Nabiullina sought to resign after Vladimir Putin ordered an invasion of Ukraine, only to be told by the president to stay, according to four people with knowledge of the discussions.
Nominated for a new five-year term last week, Nabiullina’s current views couldn’t be learned. She is left to manage the fallout from a war that’s quickly undone much of what’s she’s accomplished in the nine years since she took office. The people said departure now would be seen as a betrayal by the president, with whom she has worked closely for nearly two decades. [Continue reading…]