Following reports of failed Russian advances and stalled invasion efforts across Ukraine, the Russian forces are now reportedly being repelled and pushed back by the Ukrainians in several key cities and areas as they suffer from frostbite due to not having cold-weather gear.

“They [the Ukrainians] are now able and willing to take back territory the Russians have taken. It’s notable. Not only are the Ukrainians defending well, they’re making efforts to take back territory the Russians have taken in recent days,” said an unnamed US senior defense official.

“Some of their [Russia’s] soldiers are suffering from frostbite because they lack the appropriate cold-weather gear. We don’t think they properly planned.”

An unnamed NATO official has recently stated that casualties based on intelligence and Ukrainian estimates indicate the number of Russian dead to be in the 7,000-15,000 range with as many as 30,000-40,000 wounded, missing or captured.  A significant number of the missing could be desertions by conscript troops.

We have also seen reports of prisoner repatriations between Russia and Ukraine which suggests significant numbers of troops on both sides may have been captured.  In early March in the town of Sumy, a Russian military police officer was exchanged for 5 members of Ukraine’s territorial guard.

According to The Kyiv Independent defense correspondent Illia Ponomarenko, who had been closely monitoring the situation in Ukraine, the Russian troops were wearing Ukrainian combat boots, which can be hypothesized to be looted off dead Ukrainian soldiers. This may indicate that their own boots were subpar and could not withstand the cold weather and muddy terrain. Other reports have also surfaced that the Russian troops were only wearing rubber boots. However, we could not independently verify this.

An alleged intercepted phone call from a Russian soldier stuck in Mykolaiv revealed him saying that over 50% of his squadron was suffering from frostbite and that there were no proper amenities and medical supplies. However, the authenticity of the audio could not be verified as well despite it being published by Dmitri Alperovitch from the Silverado Policy Accelerator.