U.S. Defense Department Estimates 2,000 to 4,000 Russian Soldiers Killed in Ukraine

The United States Defense Department estimated that between 2,000 and 4,000 Russian soldiers have been killed in the nearly two-week-old invasion of Ukraine.

Lieutenant General Scott Berrier, the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, told the House Intelligence Committee at a hearing on March 8 that the estimate was considered “low confidence” because it was put together using a combination of intelligence sources and “open source” data, which can mean media and social media reports.

According to U.S. intelligence officials, the estimate is “far in excess” of what Russia anticipated or has publicly acknowledged, Axios reported.

Russia said on March 2 that 498 of its soldiers have died in the invasion. However, Ukraine at the time said that the figure could be higher.

A senior U.S. defense official also told reporters that about 5% of Russian weapons and vehicles have been destroyed or “rendered inoperable” during the war, Axios reported.

At the same congressional hearing, Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines said that Putin perceived the war he began as one “he cannot afford to lose.”

Haines said that Russian President Vladimir Putin did not anticipate the full scope of global economic, trade, and diplomatic response against Russia over the invasion.

Haines further said that Russia “underestimated the strength of Ukraine’s resistance and the degree of military challenge,” but Putin may continue the fighting as Russian troops operate “with reckless disregard” for noncombatants.

What remains “unclear” was if Russia will continue the “maximalist plan to capture all or most of Ukraine,” Haines said.

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