Since February 24, when Vladimir Putin launched his attack on Ukraine, more than 2,000 civilians have been killed, and another 2000-plus have been wounded, according to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). Those figures are without doubt far less than the actual casualties—in the maelstrom of ongoing war it is impossible to keep accurate track of those injured and killed. Meanwhile, Russia has already suffered 21,000 casualties, according to the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. In the long term, the losses on both sides will run to multiple tens of thousands.
Killing thousands of people during war is standard procedure for Russia. Numbers during the war in Chechnya are illustrative. In 1994, Russian troops invaded Chechnya and killed between 80,000 and 100,000 people, most civilians. In 1999, the fighting restarted, resulting in comparable numbers killed.
Then there’s Syria, a war that continues to this day. The United Nations has verified that at least 350,209 civilians and combatants were killed between March 2011 and March 2021, but it has warned that the figure is an “undercount of the actual number.”
Universal condemnation doesn’t seem to faze Putin. But sooner or later, the Russian people will lose patience with their dictator. When the war against Ukraine is lost—and it will be over time—and every Russian knows someone who died, the people will speak.