Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a video message overnight Sunday that the locations of fierce battles with the invading Russian forces, “the frontline of our defense is simply littered with the corpses of Russian soldiers, and no one removes these corpses, these bodies.”
Zelensky said, “We are well aware that in Russia there is simply a bottomless human resource and a lot of equipment, missiles, and bombs,” and added: “But I want to ask the citizens of Russia, what have they done to you over the years? Do the words son, mother, father mean nothing to you anymore?”
“Already more than 14,000 of your soldiers have been killed. This is 14,000 mothers. This is 14,000 fathers. These are wives, these are children, relatives, and friends. And you don’t notice it? But there will only be more victims as long as the war continues. Your war against us, Russia against Ukraine on our land,” Zelensky said.
According to the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, “the total combat losses of the Russian occupying army since the start of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24, as of the morning of March 20, amounted to approximately 14,700 personnel.”
The Ukrainian command noted on Sunday that “the Russian Federation also lost 476 tanks, 1,487 armored combat vehicles, 230 artillery systems, 74 multiple launch rocket systems, 44 air defense systems, 96 aircraft, 118 helicopters, 947 vehicles, 3 ships/boats, 60 tanks with fuel and lubricants, 21 unmanned aerial vehicles of the operational-tactical level, and 12 units of special equipment.”
Regardless of the actual number of Russian losses of personnel and equipment, Western intelligence officials have noted that Russia can’t replace its forces fast enough, resulting in a devastating impact on troop morale. According to NATO officials, the Russian offensive against Kiev has stalled, and last Thursday, Ukraine announced it had launched a counteroffensive to take back the city’s suburbs.
The Ukrainian General Staff has stressed that “Russian servicemen are increasingly refusing to travel to Ukraine, despite promises of … higher salaries.” NATO officials have said they expect the high Russian casualties to eventually reach enough Russian civilians at home to encourage a protest movement at home.
According to Right Livelihood (For their courage in upholding the common humanity of Russians and Chechens and opposing the militarism and violence in Chechnya), “the Committee of Soldiers’ Mothers of Russia (CSMR) was founded in 1989 and officially registered 300 mothers of soldiers the same year, whose initial aim was to campaign for their sons to return home early from military service to resume their studies. They succeeded in bringing home nearly 180,000 young men for this purpose.
“The mothers had been horrified by what they saw and learned about conditions in the armed forces: the regular beatings, abuse, and humiliations, the lack of food or other necessities, the effective slavery imposed in the ‘construction’ battalions, which comprised about 30 percent of the military workforce. Their demands were for a thorough reform of military structures, reform of the armed forces on a democratic basis, an end to forced labor in the construction battalions, demilitarization on the justice system, the establishment of effective civil control over the military, and legislation to provide for an alternative civil service.”
The Ukrainians pin their hopes on a similar reaction taking place in Russia, despite the harsh curbs on free communication imposed by the Putin regime. Indeed, this is why President Zelensky phrased his appeal to the Russian people the way he did. When the Russians have had enough, they have the power to stop this war.