Ukraine War Update: The British Ministry of Defense assesses that the Russian military has lost one-quarter of its total invasion force in Ukraine. The losses include some of Russia’s best formations.
In its daily operational estimate on May 2, the Ministry describes Russia’s losses:
“At the start of the conflict, Russia committed over 120 battalion tactical groups, approximately 65 per cent of its entire ground combat strength. It is likely that more than a quarter of these units have now been rendered combat ineffective. Some of Russia’s most elite units, including the VDV Airborne Forces, have suffered the highest levels of attrition. It will probably take years for Russia to reconstitute these forces.”
Ukraine’s own Ministry of Defense has been publicizing its accounts of Russian military losses since the beginning of the war. Their reports are a great tool to document the state of the war, but they also serve the purposes of psychological and information warfare. The average Ukrainian can track the progress of the war daily and understand what Ukraine’s military is doing in the field. Further, the international community can see the effectiveness of Ukraine’s forces, possibly making them more inclined to help with weapons and money.
According to the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense, since the start of the war, Ukrainian forces have killed approximately 23,800 Russian troops (and wounded approximately thrice that number); destroyed 194 fighter, attack, and transport jets; 155 helicopters; 1,048 tanks; 459 artillery pieces; 2,519 armored personnel carriers; 152 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems; eight boats; 1,695 vehicles; 76 fuel tanks; 80 anti-aircraft batteries; 271 unmanned aerial systems; 38 special equipment platforms, including bridging vehicles as well as four mobile Iskander ballistic missile systems; and 84 cruise missiles.
The Russian military continues to bleed men and materiel at an unsustainable rate. Over the last weekend alone, the Russian military reportedly lost some 800 men killed (and two or three times that number wounded); 62 tanks; 101 armored personnel carriers; 129 vehicles; 24 artillery pieces; eight anti-aircraft batteries; seven fixed-wing aircraft; and 40 unmanned aerial systems of all sizes. If the report is accurate, the Kremlin cannot keep this up.
But Ukraine has been suffering casualties too. Although the Ukrainian military has done a much better job than Russia’s of documenting enemy losses, we know that Ukrainian forces have lost at least 3,000 troops killed and 10,000 wounded since the invasion began. Those are the official numbers provided by Kyiv. The real figures are probably higher.
Moreover, according to the office of the Ukrainian president, 143 Ukrainian troops have been awarded the title “Hero of Ukraine,” the highest award for valor under fire. More than 10,000 troops have been awarded lesser medals.
1945’s New Defense and National Security Columnist, Stavros Atlamazoglou is a seasoned defense journalist specializing in special operations, a Hellenic Army veteran (national service with the 575th Marine Battalion and Army HQ), and a Johns Hopkins University graduate. His work has been featured in Business Insider, Sandboxx, and SOFREP.