纽约时报3月16日报道，据美国情报部门估计，在俄罗斯总统普京入侵乌克兰20天后，已有 7,000 多名俄罗斯士兵丧生，这比 20 多年来美军在伊拉克和阿富汗阵亡的总人数还多。俄罗斯不断增加的战争死亡人数会破坏军队的士气和凝聚力，比方说，士兵不明白他们为什么要战斗。军队的高伤亡率也解释了为什么俄罗斯的部队在乌克兰首都基辅以外的地区停滞不前。
据乌克兰、北约和俄罗斯官员称，俄罗斯军方在战斗中失去了至少三名将军。周三，乌克兰官员报告说，俄罗斯第四名将军、第 150 摩托化步兵师指挥官奥列格·米蒂耶夫少将也在战斗中丧生。
The conservative side of the estimate, at more than 7,000 Russian troop deaths, is greater than the number of American troops killed over 20 years in Iraq and Afghanistan combined. Pentagon officials say that a high, and rising, number of war dead can destroy the will to continue fighting. Especially since these soldiers don’t understand why they’re fighting. The high rate of casualties goes far to explain why Russia’s much-vaunted force has remained largely stalled outside of Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital.
Signs of Russia’s challenges abound. Late last week, Russian news sources reported that Mr. Putin had put two of his top intelligence officials under house arrest. The officials, who run the Fifth Service of Russia’s main intelligence service, the FSB, were interrogated for providing poor intelligence ahead of the invasion, according to Andrei Soldatov, a Russian security services expert. Russians themselves may be hearing only what Mr. Putin wants them to hear about his “operation” in Ukraine, which he refuses to call a war or an invasion. Since it began, he has exerted iron control over the news outlets in Russia; state media is not publicizing most casualties, and has minimized the destruction. But some Russians have access to virtual private networks (VPNs) and are able to get news from the West.
“I don’t believe he can wall off, indefinitely, Russians from the truth,” William J. Burns, the C.I.A. director, told the Senate last Thursday. “Especially as realities began to puncture that bubble, the realities of killed and wounded coming home, and the increasing number, the realities of the economic consequences for ordinary Russians, the realities of the horrific scenes of hospitals and schools being bombed next door in Ukraine, and of civilian casualties there as well.”
And the Russian military has also lost at least three generals in the fight, according to Ukrainian, NATO and Russian officials. On Wednesday, Ukrainian officials reported that a fourth general, Maj. Gen. Oleg Mityaev, the commander of the 150th motorized rifle division, had been killed in fighting.