The death and wounded tolls in any conflict are nearly impossible to calculate in real time, and each party has its own incentives to exaggerate its numbers in a desired direction. During the war in Ukraine, most of the statistics have come from the Ukrainian side, while the Russians have spoken very little publicly on the subject.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said last week that “at least tens of thousands” of civilians have been killed in the first three months of the war, and he said roughly 60 to 100 Ukrainian soldiers are getting killed daily, while 500 are wounded in the Donbas, which is where nearly all of the fighting is occurring. The New York Times reported the 40,000 figure.
Ukraine’s military frequently shares the death toll it has calculated for the other side, most recently sharing on Tuesday that the Russian military had lost more than 31,000 troops, while it has been more selective in sharing that information about its own military.
The United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights reported on Wednesday that 4,253 civilians have been killed, with another 5,141 injured, though the office warned that it believes “the actual figures are considerably higher” because there are places it doesn’t have access to where fighting is taking place.
Ukraine’s prosecutor general’s office has opened nearly 15,000 cases of alleged war crimes, which includes the targeting of civilians, the office announced last week. There are another 7,200 cases regarding the crime of aggression, another type of war crime that focuses on the planning and initiation of a large-scale act of aggression using a state military force.