Ukraine: The Fog of War


Some of the damage caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Mattox Friedman, Reporter

The recent Russian invasion of Ukraine on Feb 24, 2022 exemplifies this old adage that truth is the first casualty of war, as accurate reporting has been exceedingly difficult to find. Competing narratives on the status of the war reflect the way information is skewed in order to sway public opinion. While the situation remains notoriously difficult to report on, Russia’s inability to occupy Ukraine’s capital Kyiv is making it increasingly clear that Russia will not be able to declare a swift victory. One contentious way in which opposing narratives are competing to sway public opinion has to do with military casualties. Amanda Macias, a national security journalist with CNBC, has reported that NATO estimates that “up to 40,000 Russian troops have been killed, injured, captured or gone missing during the first month of the Kremlin’s war,” with “7,000” to “15,000” of them killed in action. The Ukrainian defense forces estimate that “more than “9,000 Russian soldiers have died in fighting”, while Moscow maintains its casualties are “498” dead and “1,597.” By presenting a low casualty rate, the Kremlin aims to project strength and effectiveness in its military capabilities. On the other hand, NATO’s estimates that Russia has lost thousands of soldiers in a matter of weeks creates the impression that the war is a stalemate and Russia will struggle to maintain its offensive. However, with more than “150,000 troops now involved in the war in Ukraine,” Russia continues to hold the ability to drag the war on. 

Beyond the battlefield, NATO members are increasingly unified in their commitment to helping Ukraine. On Mar 24, 2022, President Biden announced that the United States would bring in 100,000 Ukrainian refugees and promised an additional $1 billion in medicine, food, and other humanitarian aid. By far the biggest recipient of Ukrainian refugees, Poland has taken in more than 2 million of the 3.5 million people that have fled the country since the war. French President Emmanuel Macron frames the West’s position, Ukraine’s allies are willing to “support Ukraine in this war without going to war with Russia.” Whether that will be enough to stop Russia’s invasion and put together a peace treaty remains to be seen.