In war conflicts it is often remembered that the first victim is the truth. More than 13 months after the invasion of Ukraine by Russia, the figures for casualties are only sporadically provided by the two sides, and when they do it is as a way to encourage their troops or to reinforce the support of the civilian population. .
But the intelligence services do handle approximate figures. According to one of the documents that was leaked on social networks on Thursday and that apparently pertains to the joint defense plans of the United States and NATO, the total number of fallen in combat from February 24, 2022 to March 1, 2023 would be between 51,500 and 61,000 troops.
This is how it is collected by a map that has been disseminated on social networks despite carrying the ‘Top Secret’ label (top secret). “Status of the conflict as of March 1”is the title of the document, which analyzes the situation of the war during the last week of March and breaks down the position and number of Ukrainian and Russian forces on the battlefield. It also details which areas are fully controlled by Russia, pointing out the entire east-southeast belt of Ukraine, with cities such as Melitopol, Mariupol or Bakhmut.
[El Kremlin reconoce que su objetivo estratégico en Ucrania es crear “un nuevo orden mundial”]
“As of March 1, Russian and Wagner Group forces continue to focus on taking Bakhmut, while Ukrainian forces consolidate gains in Kherson and beef up defenses in Bakhmut to protect their land lines of communication from potential Russian advances in eastern Ukraine. Russian forces continue their operations on the ground in Donetsk and have established a defense in depth between Kherson and Zaporizhzhia,” the map summarized more than a month ago.
The figures that appear in the document speak of between 35,500 and 43,500 Russian troops killed in actionand from 16,000 to 17,500 by Ukraine. However, manipulations of the first document are being disseminated on social networks (without its authenticity being confirmed, in any case), significantly reducing the death toll of the Russian army.
[La guerra de Ucrania en viñetas: el periodismo con mayúsculas de Igort]
Still, these numbers are markedly lower than estimates from other sources. In November, the head of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, already alluded to some 100,000 dead soldiers on each side, and another 40,000 civilians.
Concern in Ukraine
The leak has become a new point of concern for Ukraine and its Western allies. From kyiv, the presidential adviser has affirmed that it is a psychological operation by Russia to “try to influence the plans” of his government for its counteroffensive. In addition, possible measures to prevent information leaks have been discussed within the Executive, which could slow down or reduce the number of reports that Ukrainians send to their allies.
For its part, the Pentagon announced that it is investigating the possible security breach that would have facilitated the leaking of documents that, however, have not confirmed that they are authentic. However, it demanded that the social network Twitter delete those files.
As this newspaper has been able to verify, on the same day, March 1, a user of the social network Discord with the alias ‘Lucca’ published photos of about thirty intelligence documents, some of a confidential nature. There they spread various situation maps by area, as well as daily situation reports on the war and on other countries, such as Iran or Israel. Some of the maps were shared (with or without previous manipulation) through Telegram, after which they rose to fame this Thursday by reporting it The New York Times.
One of the documents posted online includes a table listing details of Ukrainian troop units, as well as their equipment and training, with schedules from January to April.
It provides information on 12 combat brigades that were being assembled, nine of which, the report says, were allegedly being trained and supplied by the US and NATO allies.