NATO official estimates that 40,000 Russian troops have been captured, injured, or killed: report

A column of tanks marked with the Z symbol stretches into the distance as they proceed northwards along the Mariupol-Donetsk highway.
A NATO official told the media this week that estimates of Russian troop casualties number between 7,000 to 15,000 one month into the conflict in Ukraine.Maximilian Clarke/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images
  • NATO estimates that up to 40,000 Russian troops have been captured, injured, or killed.

  • An anonymous NATO official said between 7,000 to 15,000 Russian troops have died.

  • A pro-Kremlin tabloid this week ran a report that nearly 10,000 Russian troops have been killed.

NATO released a new estimate that up to 40,000 Russian troops have been injured, captured, or killed in the first month of Russia's war on Ukraine.

An anonymous NATO official spoke to media outlets including NBC and the AP, confirming the number. The official said that per NATO's most recent intelligence assessment, between 7,000 to 15,000 Russian troops have died in the conflict.

The NATO estimate aligns with an estimate released by US intelligence, which pegged the Russian death toll at around 7,000 people.

A senior US official told reporters on a conference call attended by NBC that it is difficult to give casualty counts because the US does not have boots on the ground in Ukrainian territory.

"I'm not going to characterize what the ranges are that we're looking at because they're just very broad and we continue to have low confidence in those estimates because we're not on the ground and can't see, you know, what's really going on on a day to day basis," said the official, who declined to be named.

However, the same official told reporters that Russian forces have faced many logistical issues, and are suffering from low morale.

The NATO estimate comes the same week that the pro-Kremlin tabloid Komsomolskaya Pravda reported almost 10,000 Russian troops had been killed in the conflict. It cited numbers from the Russian Ministry of Defense saying 9,861 Russian troops had died, and 16,153 soldiers were injured. The story was later taken down.

Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, in an unprovoked assault that was the biggest military offensive in Europe since World War II. However, the last month has seen strong resistance from Ukraine, with reports of Russian tanks being destroyed and Russian troops suffering from frostbite because of inadequate gear. Ukraine also says it has killed at least five Russian generals. Diplomats speculate poor communications have left commanders and high-ranking military officers exposed.

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