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The Daily Vertical: The Human Costs Of Putin's War (Transcript)

The views expressed in this commentary do not necessarily reflect the views of RFE/RL.

Nearly 10,000 dead.

Approximately 23,000 wounded.

And almost 1.8 million displaced.

These are the human costs of Russia's aggression in Ukraine, which began three years ago this week.

And amidst all the politics, all the diplomacy, all the spin, all the disinformation, and all the posturing; amidst all the violated cease-fires, all the finger pointing, and all the Normandy Format meetings; amidst all of this, it's way too easy to lose sight of these human costs.

It is also easy to lose sight of the fact that at the end of the day, one man is ultimately responsible for these people being dead, wounded, or displaced.

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One man who rules over an autocratic kleptocracy and who felt threatened by a democratic revolution in a neighboring state.

One man who gave the order to invade.

One man who famously said that Ukraine isn't even a real country.

If Vladimir Putin had not made the decisions he made three years ago this week, nearly 10,000 people would not be dead, 23,000 people would not be wounded, and 1.8 million people would not be displaced.

This is not a civil war. This is not the Ukraine crisis.

This is Vladimir Putin's war on Ukraine and it is a war of choice. These are its human costs.

And they are still mounting as we speak.

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