House lawmakers who received a classified briefing Monday night from senior Biden administration officials on the Russian invasion have been told Ukraine has suffered 1,500 civilian and military casualties since the attack began , according to two people during the briefing. It was unclear whether the casualty count referred only to fatalities or also included the injured.
The group – which included Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines – also believed that the current phase of the conflict could last longer. three to four weeks before turning into an insurrection. against the Russian invaders.
“Eventually, I think Russia will win, but what they win will be the bigger question,” Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Arizona) said. “I just don’t see how they could occupy a country this size with such strong resistance.
Rep. Jason Crow (D-Colo.) urged the administration to get more weapons to Ukrainian forces sooner.
“The Ukrainians are fighting hard and doing their part – we just need to get them the necessary resupplies and ammunition to keep the fight going,” Crow said.
The Chamber Briefing’s casualty tally differed from other publicly available figures, but the variation in these statistics is not surprising, given the difficulty of quantifying the toll in real time as conditions on the ground deteriorate. .
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, for example, reported at least 406 civilian casualties – including 102 dead – but UNHCR Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Martin Griffiths , said that “the actual figure could be considerably higher”.
The toll, already high for just a few days of fighting, is also expected to rise significantly in the coming days, military and intelligence experts said.
“It’s only going to get worse,” said Angela Stent, a Georgetown University researcher and former intelligence official who worked on Russian issues.
Rep. Victoria Spartz (R-Ind.), who was born and raised in Ukraine, also said she expects the death toll to rise, especially given heavy shelling in major cities such as than Kharkov.
“It will probably be a very significant loss of life,” she said, but added: “In the long run, the Ukrainians are not going to surrender. The Ukrainians are just not going to submit.