KYIV, Ukraine — With every toll of the bell, Russia marked another year since the Soviet Union’s monumental victory over Nazi Germany, known as Victory Day. Amid the remembrance, however, was a stark contrast. While Victory Day was commemorated with subdued pageantry in Moscow’s Red Square, reports of Russian losses on the battlefields in Ukraine served as a stark reminder of the ongoing conflict.

In a sad revelation, the Ukrainian armed forces announced on Wednesday that Russia had suffered severe losses within a single day of combat. Although not independently verified, the figures disclosed painted a grim picture: two tanks, 18 armored vehicles, and 690 troops. This grave news emerges as Russia, while commemorating past glories, continues to grapple with its current military impasse in Ukraine.

Anticipation of Counteroffensive Amid Rising Losses

The timing of these reported losses is significant. They fall within the shadow of Russia’s Victory Day celebrations, which were scaled down this year, and ahead of an expected counteroffensive from Ukrainian forces. As a result, this subject has been a buzzing hive of speculation for weeks now.

Under the aggressive, full-fledged invasion initiated by President Vladimir Putin in February 2022, Ukrainian estimations of Russian casualties have been staggering. As per Kyiv’s tally, the Russians have lost as many as 3,736 tanks and 7,275 armored vehicles. The open-source intelligence website Oryx provides a slightly lower estimate, indicating Russian losses of 1,938 tanks and 838 armored vehicles as of Wednesday.

The Human Cost of Conflict

The issue of troop losses is a grave concern. According to the latest numbers put forth by Kyiv, an alarming 196,310 Russian soldiers have perished in the conflict. Other sources have reported lesser estimates that tell a different story. For example, a Pentagon report leaked to U.S. media outlets in February suggested a figure closer to 43,000 Russian troops killed in action.

The U.S. National Security Council spokesman, John Kirby, offered further insight earlier this month, stating that over 20,000 Russian soldiers had lost their lives in the conflict since December — with half of them being mercenaries of the notorious Wagner Group, led by Yevgeny Prigozhin. However, it’s worth noting that the official Russian count of soldiers killed in action has remained unchanged since September 2022, standing just shy of 6,000.