US Intelligence Tells Lawmakers Russian Casualties Surpass 75,000 In Ukraine

At a moment that Ukrainian casualties have remained a closely guarded secret, US intelligence has claimed that more than 75,000 Russian soldiers have been killed or injured since the Feb.24 invasion of Ukraine.

Michigan Democrat Rep. Elissa Slotkin during an interview with CNN this week said she was given a classified briefing from White House officials, wherein "We were briefed that over 75,000 Russians have either been killed or wounded [in Ukraine], which is huge... Over 80% of their land forces are bogged down, and they’re tired."

US Intelligence Tells Lawmakers Russian Casualties Surpass 75,000 In Ukraine
Image source: State Emergency Service Of Ukraine/Reuters

She added: "But they’re still the Russian military" - likely in reference to Moscow's better ability than Ukraine to replenish its ranks. The claim comes as both sides have for weeks portrayed the other as lacking morale and struggling to maintain diminished supplies along front lines.

It is unknown how the US intelligence briefing that Slotkin was given sourced its information, presenting what many observers will likely view as a significant and high, possibly greatly inflated, Russian casualty rate. For example, to what degree did US intelligence rely on Ukrainian figures on Russian casualties in the assessment? 

From Kiev's perspective, President Volodymyr Zelensky in a national speech on Tuesday claimed that just under 40,000 Russian service members had been killed thus far in the invasion. He lambasted the Kremlin for censoring the true casualty count, despite Ukraine's defense ministry itself not publishing its own casualty toll: 

"For four months, the Russian state has not provided to its citizens any information—even censored—about the losses of the occupation contingent," Zelensky said in the speech, according to an official transcript. "Total silence. Nothing was published or said in numerous interviews and speeches at the political and military levels."

Zelensky added that "tens of thousands more were wounded and maimed." He urged for "everyone who still has any contacts in Russia or informational influence on their society should convey this simple fact to whomever possible."

Just over a week ago, on July 20, CIA Director William Burns issued an estimate during an appearance before the Aspen Security Forum: "I think the latest estimates from the U.S. intelligence community would be, you know, something in the vicinity of 15,000 killed and maybe three times that wounded, so a quite significant set of losses," Burns said.

Burns emphasized in the comments that the Ukrainian side has "suffered as well" in terms of military losses, but still "probably a little less than" enemy forces. 

So far the only information that Ukraine's defense ministry has revealed is that its armed forces are losing between 100 and 200 members a day - a statement that was given many weeks ago. The Ukrainian government has expressed reluctance to publish official casualty rates on concerns that it could be used for Russian propaganda. The Pentagon has recently said something similar.

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