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    Over 15,000 Russian troops killed since Ukraine invasion — NATO says

    As many as 15,000 Russian troops have been killed since the invasion of Ukraine began four weeks ago, according to NATO’s first estimate since the war began.

    According to USAToday, Russia has suffered 30,000 to 40,000 battlefield casualties, including 7,000 to 15,000 killed, a senior NATO military officer said in a briefing Wednesday from the alliance’s military headquarters in Belgium.

    The officer, speaking on condition of anonymity under ground rules set by NATO, said the estimated deaths are based on information from the Ukrainian government, indications from Russia and open-source information.

    The officer said the number of casualties came from a calculation of three wounded soldiers for every soldier killed. Casualties include killed, wounded or missing in action as well as those taken prisoner.

    Earlier this week a senior Pentagon official estimated the Russian military had lost more than 10% of the combat force.

    Meanwhile, Ukraine’s military, staggered in the early days of the war by the brutal fury of Russia’s invasion, has gained footing and begun the arduous task of taking back territory overrun by Russia’s initial onslaught.

    A senior Pentagon official this week described Ukrainian resistance as quick and nimble, and, for the first time, seeking to retake lost ground.

    Russian forces remain largely stalled around the capital of Kyiv, said the official who described intelligence assessments to reporters on condition of anonymity.

    The Ukraine Defense Ministry claims its forces have driven occupying Russian troops out of Makariv – a small Kyiv suburb but crucial because it provides control of a highway to the west.

    The effort also blocked Russian troops from surrounding Kyiv from the northwest and provided the Ukrainian military with a much-needed success story.

    An assessment released Wednesday by the British Defense Ministry described the battlefield across northern Ukraine as “largely static.” Russian forces are likely reorganizing before resuming large-scale offensive operations, the ministry said in a tweet Wednesday.

    President Joe Biden embarks Wednesday on a multi-day trip to Europe starting Wednesday to meet with allies about the ongoing response to Russia’s invasion, including military assistance for Ukraine and new sanctions on Russia.

    Jake Sullivan, Biden’s national security adviser, said Biden is working on long-term efforts to boost defenses in Eastern Europe and reduce the continent’s reliance on Russian energy.

    NATO leaders to call out China for not condemning Russia’s invasionNATO leaders will pressure China to condemn Russia’s invasion and not provide military support to its ally, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Wednesday.

    “I expect leaders will call on China to live up to its responsibilities as a member of the U.N. Security Council,” Stoltenberg said at a news conference previewing Thursday’s emergency NATO meeting on Ukraine in Brussels.

    Stoltenberg said Beijing has joined Moscow in questioning the right of independent nations to choose their own path.

    And he charged China with providing political support to Russia by “spreading blatant lies and disinformation” about the war.

    “China has not been able to condemn the invasion,” he said.

    Stoltenberg said China should do so now and “engage in diplomatic efforts to find a peaceful way to end this war as soon as possible.”

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