The true scale of Russian combat losses

A destroyed Russian tank
A destroyed Russian tank
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Prigozhin's latest statements confirmed the actual scale of Russian combat losses in Ukraine.

Analysis of open sources confirms this as well. Biden announced in Hiroshima on May 21 that Russia lost 100,000 troops in the battle for Bakhmut. On May 24, Prigozhin confirmed the truth of Biden's words and, for the first time, named specific information about losses during the operations in Bakhmut: 10,000 former prisoners and 10,000 Wagner volunteer mercenaries. There were 20,000 Wagnerite KIA, plus the losses of Russian troops at Bakhmut in May-August 2022 until the Wagner took over. Casualties also include the wounded, and Russian sources talk about the ratio of injured and concussed to dead as 1:4 or 1:5. This adds up to about the same numbers as given by the Americans.

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In secret documents from the US Ministry of Defense recently leaked to the press – as of March 1, 2023, Russia's total losses in the war in terms of killed were estimated from 35,000 to 43,500. Representative of the US National Security and Defense Council Kirby stated on May 1 that Russia lost 20,000 in five months – from December 2022 to April 2023. Meaning, after mobilization, the average losses amounted to 4,000 killed Russian military personnel per month. Interestingly, this generally coincides with publicly available data in Ukrainian media, and the American assessment of the situation is based on information directly or indirectly confirmed by Russian sources. Two research teams - BBC and Meduza, as well as the Telegram channel Goryushko – track messages published in the media and social networks, mainly from obituaries and inscriptions on graves.

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According to the Goryushko Telegram channel's named list on May 28, they have identified 23,859 public messages about dead Russians. BBC and Meduza do not show a named list, but their information generally coincides with Goryushko's data. As of May 26, they identified 24,005 dead RF military personnel. This includes 5,703 Wagner mercenaries killed near Bakhmut from August 1, 2022, to May 22, 2023. It should be noted that the monitoring does not track data on losses of mobilized personnel on the territory of the Donetsk region, as such information is blocked. According to an "ombudsman of the DNR" statement in December 2022, the losses of mobilized personnel of the Russian Armed Forces in the Donetsk region amounted to 4,200 military personnel.

According to the minimum confirmed and incomplete data in Russia itself, the losses of the Russian army are already:

  1. Losses of the Russian Ministry of Defense, National Guard, FSB, and Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs: 18,302 (minus 5,703 losses by Wagner).

  2. Losses of Wagner PMC: 20,000.

  3. Losses of mobilized persons in the Donetsk region in December 2022: 4,200

Total: 42,500 killed as of May 2023. These figures exceed the losses of the USSR and Russia in Afghanistan, Chechnya, and all other post-Soviet hot spots put together.

But these figures are obviously incomplete.

Read also: Regular Russian troops replacing Wagner mercenaries in Bakhmut

What is the structure of Russian losses?

  1. The Ministry of Defense, National Guard of the Russian Federation, and FSB. These are the official power structures. To the extent it is possible to compare the losses of the Russian troops with data from social networks, the available figures are at least 20% less than the actual losses due to a large number of missing persons. This is especially true during the maneuver period of the war and in the composition of improvised military formations – BARS, national volunteer battalions, soldiers on 3-6 month contracts, and prisoners from the "Storm" units of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation.

  2. Private military companies and mercenary units. The largest mercenary outfit is Wagner, but others are owned by groups such as Gazprom. They keep their own records of losses. The full extent of these losses is unknown. Prigozhin mentioned only losses near Bakhmut, even though Wagner has been fighting since March 18, 2023, in Popasna.

  3. Mobilized forces in the occupied territory of Ukraine, the "Iron Helmets," are in the worst situation - they are thrown into battle without preparation, without provision, with outdated weapons, and their losses are not accounted for. Information about the problems of these troops and their casualties is entirely inaccessible. The occupying authorities keep the Internet under tight control. The occupiers in the "DNR" reported that their confirmed losses amounted to supposedly 4,200 killed in December 2022, but they have stopped issuing these numbers. The occupiers in the "LNR" have never given such data. The BBC estimates losses of mobilized forces in the Russian army in Donbas at 8,000 killed. This figure coincides with analysis based on the extrapolation of average daily losses based on official reports from the "DNR." According to the "DNR," they averaged 14 killed per day among the Donetsk "mobiks." However, missing-in-action soldiers were not reported in the statistics. These press-ganged Ukrainians from occupied Donbas fought in many battles and were used to protect the escape of Russian regular troops. This means that their losses must be higher.

If we assume the minimum figures, then even a cautious, conservative estimate of the Russian losses at this point is:

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  1. Losses of official power structures are undercounted by at least 20%. That is, 18,000 (minus Wagner) in the named list leads to estimated losses of up to 22,000.

  2. Losses of mercenaries in private structures at the moment - 20,000.

  3. Losses of mobilized personnel in Donbas are 8,000.

Thus, the minimum estimated number of Russian losses is about 50,000 killed. The number of wounded and concussed is 4-5 times higher.

Therefore, the statement by the Minister of Defense of Great Britain, Ben Wallace, about the total losses of Russia of 220,000 killed and wounded service members is minimally confirmed by open sources.

Neither the United States nor Britain refutes the official data of Ukraine regarding Russian losses, and they assume that the enemy could have suffered more significant losses than stated. Therefore, it is unnecessary to question the official Ukrainian data and present my vision based on open sources.

Read also: Russia’s losses in full-scale war against Ukraine exceed 200,000

Text published with the permission of the author.

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Read the original article on The New Voice of Ukraine