Around 100,000 Ukrainian soldiers have been killed in the year-long battle against Russia's invasion, Politico reported, citing unnamed US officials.
This comes amid a grueling struggle since February 24, 2022, with a constantly shifting front line throughout Ukraine's eastern oblasts of Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia, Kherson, Kharkiv and Mykolaiv.
This also includes Russian missile and artillery strikes on other areas of the country, including the central oblasts of Kyiv, Chernihiv, Dnipro and Odesa, even as far west as Lviv.
For its part, Russia has also reportedly suffered heavy casualties in the war.
According to recent information from the Ukrainian military, Russia has so far lost:
- 163,320 soldiers
- 305 aircraft
- 290 helicopters
- 2,145 drones
- 265 air defense systems
- 2,552 artillery systems
- 504 multiple rocket launch systems
- 18 ships
- 3,506 tanks
- 6,823 armored combat vehicles
- 5,401 fuel tankers and other vehicles
It should be noted that these death tolls, both from Russian and Ukrainian sources, are difficult to verify.
Ukraine-Russia War: The fierce fighting around Bakhmut
Currently, the fiercest battleground in the ongoing war is around the city of Bakhmut in the Donetsk Oblast.
Russian forces, alongside mercenaries from the Wagner Group, have been laying siege to the city for several months and have destroyed much of the city, though Ukrainian forces have consistently managed to hold onto some ground.
According to the BBC, between 20,000-30,000 Russian soldiers have been either killed or wounded in and around Bakhmut, and earlier this week, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said 1,100 Russian troops were killed in the area in the preceeding days. NATO figures also put the ratio at five dead Russian soldiers for every one Ukrainian, though these figures are questionable and are always changing.
What's more is that it is unclear what the strategic value for the city may be for either side, though both Russia and Ukraine have stressed the city's importance.
According to US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, the Bakhmut's importance is more symbolic than strategic.
Another major concern for the US is Ukrainian supplies.
While Russia has long been reported to be suffering from a severe supply shortage, with production issues due to sanctions forcing them to rely on old and out-of-date equipment, Ukraine's situation isn't perfect either.
Numerous news outlets have reported on Ukraine's dwindling supply of ammunition, air defense and experienced soldiers.
Ukraine's allies are now under pressure to boost their own arms production, with a proposal by Estonia having been made to have Europe increase its artillery shell production from 240,000-300,000 per year to 2.1 million per year, NBC News reported. European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell has also previously stated that delivering ammunition to Ukraine could determine the outcome of the war.
However, according to experts cited by NBC, a major problem is European bureaucracy, with the West's defense industry having long been preparing for a hi-tech war with advanced technology rather than an artillery-centric land war.
Meanwhile, artillery shells remain among the most requested items by Ukraine from its Western allies.