A retired American Marine fighting in Ukraine told ABC News the frontlines are a where soldiers survive an average of “four hours.” Moscow and Kiev have been battling around Bakhmut for several months as Russia’s forces have slowly made gains around the city.
In January, Germany estimated Kiev was losing a “three-digit number” of soldiers daily fighting for Bakhmut. At that time, the White House believed President Volodymyr Zelensky was committing too many lives and resources to defend the city.
Meanwhile, Kiev’s Western backers have expressed to Zelensky in recent weeks that NATO countries are struggling to find artillery shells to send to Ukraine. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said the US will train Ukrainian forces on fighting methods that use fewer munitions.
The Kremlin ordered a mobilization of 300,000 troops last year. Western leaders have anticipated Moscow will order an offensive this winter. Ukrainian officials say that the Russian offensive is now underway.
Due to Moscow’s and Kiev’s tight control over their countries’ presses, it is unclear how substantial the death toll is for each country. Since the start of the war, Zelensky has nationalized Ukraine’s media, outlawed his political opposition and jailed citizens who opposed his administration.