October 7 Update on the Russia-Ukraine Conflict

Casualties On the Ground

As of the most recent numbers I can find, the Russian government reports that around 61,000 Ukrainian soldiers have been killed. The Ukrainian government reports that 61,000 Russian soldiers have been killed. The same reports that it might be possible that 29,000 civilians have died.

Can we believe these numbers? I am skeptical of all of them. First and foremost, both sides have a vested interest in lying to the world. Russia would likely under-report its casualties, but this does not jive well with the apparent nationwide conscription efforts that are not, quite literally, kidnapping men off the streets of Russian cities and villages to send them to the front lines.

Similarly, Ukraine is likely to under-report as well, since doing so might make their situation seem rosier than it is and keep international aid flowing. If the number is over-reported, it may engender sympathy on the international level.

Simply put, I would not believe any casualty reports that come from belligerents in a conflict, and before I am willing to take a stand on the validity of any such numbers, I would like them to be verified by the United Nations or several independent journalistic agencies. What is clear, however, is that this has become a war of attrition rather than the swift campaign that Russia had hoped for six months ago.

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