The White House predicts that the expected counteroffensive of Ukrainian troops will turn into "carnage".
Source: The Washington Post, citing government sources
Details: "The rate at which Russian forces are being killed or wounded in Ukraine has spiked in recent months, according to estimates disclosed by the White House this week," the Washington Post says: since December alone, some 20,000 Russians have been killed in action, and another 80,000 have been wounded.
According to US officials, many of these casualties have occurred in Bakhmut. White House National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby has said that nearly half of those 20,000 dead Russians are Wagner Group fighters, particularly convicts recruited to the front.
The US has said that such fierce fighting shows that the bloody carnage may become even worse after the start of Kyiv's counteroffensive to retake the occupied territories.
An intelligence leak at the end of February, obtained by the Washington Post, showed that 42,500 Russian soldiers and up to 17,000 Ukrainians have died in combat since the beginning of Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
Rob Lee, a senior fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute who has closely followed the conflict, said that Russian forces have suffered significant losses during the winter offensive in Vuhledar, Kreminna, Marinka and elsewhere. "When you’re attacking, you’re typically going to take more casualties," Lee noted.
Given this, he suggests that a Ukrainian counteroffensive may face similar obstacles and increase the number of casualties among Ukrainian soldiers.