Following numerous estimations and reports by the United Nations, Ukrainian media, and Western news outlets, NATO has now estimated that around 40,000 Russian troops have either been killed, wounded, missing, taken as prisoners by the Ukrainian Armed Forces.

According to a senior NATO official, who requested that he remain anonymous, around 7,000 to 15,000 of these troops have died on the battlefield following significant troubles and challenges the invading forces had encountered during the four-week-old war that started on February 24. It is unknown whether these numbers also include Chechen fighters and foreign mercenaries hired by Russia.

These estimations were reportedly collated from open-source data, the Ukrainian government, and information coming out of Russia. This is the first and only public estimate of Russian casualties by NATO. The Pentagon had previously refused to put a number of casualties from the Ukrainian and Russian sides as the information coming from the ground is questionable and difficult to verify. However, Western intelligence had put the number of casualties last week at 10,000 people as a reasonable estimate.

“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 an unnamed US official last week.

The same official had reported that the Russian forces were suffering from cases of frostbite and that soldiers were experiencing such low morale that they walked into the woods and abandoned their vehicles. While not independently verified, these claims matched up with online videos of Russian soldiers allegedly looting Ukrainian soldiers’ corpses for their boots. This low morale and challenges with food supply had led the Ukrainian forces to recapture integral cities and areas to avoid being completely surrounded by the Russians. While daytime temperatures in Ukraine are above freezing, at night the temperature falls again into sub-freezing ranges.  Hypothermia is also a factor as it can affect you in temps as high as the low 50s

Interestingly, this 10,000 casualty estimate was very close to what was published by the pro-Kremlin newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda estimates. They claimed that around 9,861 Russian soldiers were killed by the Ukrainian forces, and another 16,153 were wounded. They later stated that their website was hacked and that they were not the ones who posted these figures. It is also very close to Ukrainian media estimates, which put the number of dead Russian soldiers at 15,300.

This number was reportedly drawn from what the NATO military officer says to be a “standard calculation,” where a theory posits that an army suffers three wounded soldiers for every soldier killed on the other side in a war. However, despite this scientific guess, the exact number of Russian casualties is still very much unknown. That estimate can vary greatly depending on the ability of an army to promptly treat and evacuate their wounded.

NATO Forces on “Heightened Alert”

Following non-stop Russian bombings in Ukraine and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s calls for more weapons, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg announced that hundreds of thousands of Allied troops are now at “heightened readiness” across the NATO countries to enhance the capacity of NATO’s eastern flank.