War in Ukraine
Testimonies of captured Russian soldiers suggest many troops had not been told they would be invading Ukraine. Some said they were told they were participating in a military exercise, others that they were being sent just to the eastern Donbas region. That meant they were psychologically unprepared to be shot at and blown up, as happened almost instantly, which took an immediate toll on troops’ morale, noted Jack Watling of the London-based Royal United Services Institute. The enormity of the casualties Russia subsequently suffered has only exacerbated the low morale, he said. NATO put the number of Russian dead at 15,000 over two weeks ago, more than in the Soviet Union’s decade-long war in Afghanistan. Ukrainian officials say they have collected 7,000 Russian corpses from the battlefield, though Russia maintains it has lost only 1,351 soldiers.