Less than two weeks since launching its invasion of Ukraine, Russian losses have mounted. And while numbers haven't been confirmed, the death toll is likely more than what Russian president Vladimir Putin likely expected. According to Ukrainian reports, which are likely inflated, upwards of 9,000 Russian soldiers may have been killed or wounded.
In addition, Volodymyr Zelensky's government claimed that it destroyed around 108 tanks, 224 carriers, seventeen mobile rocket launchers, ten helicopters, and ten aircraft. Images published by the Daily Mail showed various destroyed Russian tanks, a Ka-52 "Alligator" helicopter gunship shot down on the first day of the conflict, and wreckage from other downed aircraft. Several photos showed Ukrainian resistance fighters posing with destroyed vehicles. Man-Portable Air Defense Systems (MANPADS) have become a preferred weapon by Ukrainian forces on the ground and have been instrumental in targeting low-flying aircraft.
Ukraine has also lost a number of vehicles, including forty-one tanks and eight aircraft. However, it is showing itself to be a resilient Biblical "David" standing up to the "Goliath," and a Russian victory is not guaranteed.
"I think we've seen a Russian invasion that is not going well," Royal Navy Adm. Sir Tony Radakin, the chief of defense staff, told BBC Sunday Morning. "We're also seeing a resistance by Ukraine, both its armed forces and its people."
The Ukrainian people are showing a strong will to fight, and Zelensky has refused to go into exile. The Ukrainian leader also vowed to hunt down and kill the soldiers who murdered a mom and her two kids while fleeing a Kyiv suburb over the weekend.
"A family was killed in [Irpin] today. A man, a woman and two children. Right on the road. … When they were just trying to get out of town. To escape," Zelensky said during a broadcast late Sunday.
"The whole family. How many such families have died in Ukraine! We will not forgive. We will not forget," he continued. "We will punish everyone who committed atrocities in this war.”
Moscow may have expected high casualties and the possibility that it would commit atrocities during its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.
Last month, during the opening stages of the invasion, it was reported that Russia had mobile crematoriums that could follow invading forces and "evaporate" dead soldiers. The Telegraph, citing a British Ministry of Defense video, stated that the trucks could incinerate bodies one at a time in the field.
"If I was a soldier and knew that my generals had so little faith in me that they followed me around the battlefield with a mobile crematorium, or I was the mother or father of a son, potentially deployed into a combat zone, and my government thought that the way to cover up losses was a mobile crematorium, I'd be deeply, deeply worried," British defense secretary Ben Wallace told the paper. "It's a very chilling side effect of how the Russians view their forces."
Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer who has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers and websites. He regularly writes about military small arms, and is the author of several books on military headgear including A Gallery of Military Headdress, which is available on Amazon.com.