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120,000 Wounded: Does Putin Wish He Never Invaded Ukraine? You Bet

Ukraine War with Russia
A Ukrainian serviceman fires with a mortar at a position, as Russia's attack on Ukraine continues, at an unknown location in Kharkiv region, Ukraine May 9, 2022. REUTERS/Serhii Nuzhnenko TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Kremlin advisers are probably wishing that they had never started the war in Ukraine.

But now that it is underway, they have had to invest their political (and indeed literal in Putin’s case) survival in the war’s success. To everyone in the West, the failures of the Russian military are apparent. But to the everyday Russian, they are not. And all because of the Kremlin and its disinformation.

Ukraine: A Failing War 

It is undeniable that the Russian campaign in Ukraine has thus far failed miserably. Based on the Ukrainian casualties figures, which have been corroborated to a certain extent by independent reporting and Western intelligence, Moscow has lost almost 40,000 men killed and potentially up to 120,000 wounded in action.

The Russian military, moreover, has lost thousands of tanks, infantry fighting vehicles, armored personnel carriers, aircraft, helicopters, and miscellaneous vehicles. For a “special military operation” that was supposed to last anywhere between 72 hours and a couple of weeks, that is very bad.

So, naturally, one of the questions is how Putin and his regime have managed to “sell” the Ukraine war to the Russian people. To be sure, Russia is an autocracy (if not a dictatorship) in everything but name. But the popular sentiment is still important (the failed war in Afghanistan, after all, that ended in 1989, was one of the reasons the Soviet Union collapsed in the early 1990s). Putin and the Kremlin understand that, and they have been relying on outright lies and disinformation to hide the complete truth of what is going on the ground in Ukraine and the looming economic disaster caused by Western sanctions from the broad Russian public.

Reading Between the Lines on Ukraine

In a neat Twitter post, the British juxtaposed reality as we know it in the West with what the Kremlin has been selling to its people.

For example, the war in Ukraine contributes to higher food prices that are affecting Russian families too, as well as the rest of the world. But the Kremlin tries to counter that by stating that its actions don’t and cannot influence the food insecurity that is plaguing many parts of the world because of the war.

On the economic front, the Russian Ministry of Economic Development has forecasted that gross domestic product will drop by almost 8 percent, while business leaders are leaving Russia, including approximately 15,000 Russian millionaires who are likely to try to leave the country. But to counter that bleak economic situation, the Kremlin is stating that the economic situation is under control.

“Russian entrepreneurs and authorities have acted in a collected and professional manner [and] step by step, we will normalize the economic situation,” Putin had said on June 18.

On the human cost front, Ukraine and the West know that the Russian forces are suffering devastating casualties (the British government stated that at least 20,000 Russian soldiers have been killed, which is more than twice the number the Soviets lost in ten years of war in Afghanistan), while their leadership is failing them at every turn with a subsequent drop in morale. Indeed, there have been cases where whole units have refused to fight and even instances of armed stand-offs between officers and troops.

To this, the Kremlin is sticking to its line that the war is going well.

“The Russian troops are demonstrating courage, acting in a proper, professional, and effective manner, using the most advanced weapons with unique features,” Putin said back in April after the failures around Kyiv.

“Contrary to the claims of Kremlin elites, Russian families face rising prices and economic woe, while their sons in the army suffer poor leadership and high casualties. It’s time to stop the lies, and end the war,” the British government stated last week.

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 InsiderSandboxx, and SOFREP.

1945’s Defense and National Security Columnist, Stavros Atlamazoglou is a seasoned defense journalist with specialized expertise 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.

12 Comments

12 Comments

  1. davidgmillsatty

    July 11, 2022 at 12:50 pm

    And since Ukraine’s wounded are probably ten times that they must have lost 1.2 million.

    • aldol11

      July 12, 2022 at 9:44 am

      pulling numbers out of your axx as usual

  2. Ezra Teter

    July 11, 2022 at 12:55 pm

    If this author is correct then Russia must be down to a small fraction of its original fighting force in Ukraine. That makes the results even more impressive if only a 20 or 40,000-man army is taking territory and destroying the Ukrainian military in the process because we have to assume that there are at least as many casualties that are maiming soldiers as are killing them. The far more likely case, however, is that the author is parroting a talking point from the Ukrainian Defense Ministry which is exaggerating its claims. I personally am skeptical of those body counts unless the Ukrainians have a morgue with 40,000 bodies of dead Russian soldiers that the international media can examine.

  3. Daniel

    July 11, 2022 at 2:46 pm

    I really hope that the west sticks with Ukraine and that Ukraine is able to push out the Russians. But really, the big loser so far is Ukraine. How many homes, schools, hospitals and etc in the Ukraine has been completely flattened by the Russians? Russia may have lost significant troops and armaments …. But their infrastructure remains 100 % intact and unaffected. This is a one sided conflict. The Ukraine gets flattened and Russians sleep well at night.

    Even if Russia was to be pushed out tomorrow, Ukraine has lost. Their country is in ruin and it will take a minimum of one generation to rebuild. Meanwhile, Russia rebuilds nothing and the world will quickly welcome back their oil and gas if the war ends.

  4. marcjf

    July 11, 2022 at 3:44 pm

    Personally I would not rely at all on Ukrainian claims of Russian casualties, in much the same way as the opposite holds true. Trying to work out true loss and replacement rates is notoriously difficult – take WW2 for instance. Academics are still arguing over the figures. I doubt whether even each side knows what its own losses are except to within a margin or error.

    My guess – and it is a guess – is that Russian losses were higher at first and it is now the UAF that is bleeding. A predominantly infantry based force does not do well in fixed positions when the enemy possesses fire superiority.

    Both sides are using at present relatively green and untrained troops. The danger for the Ukraine is that some 2 or perhaps 3 corps of decent Russian troops have been refitted in reserve.So it is said…

    However the Ukrainian government have announced a one million man offensive in the South is about to start, re-armed by NATO. I doubt this but maybe this is correct? I hope that they have some element of air and fire support or it will get very bad very quickly.

    • Harald Ullrich

      July 11, 2022 at 4:50 pm

      Truth is the first thing to die in a war.
      Some of the information in this article also applies to the Ukrainian army. According to official statements by the Ukrainian government, the Ukrainian army has recorded 200 deaths per day during the fighting in Luhansk oblast (plus several times that number of wounded).
      From the western districts of Ukraine there are reports that women have stormed administrative units in order to destroy the documents that would have sent their men as soldiers to the Donbass.
      There is a strictly monitored ban on men between 18 and 50 leaving the country, and the list of professions that make it possible to enlist women in the Ukrainian army was greatly expanded three weeks ago.
      In the social media you can see videos of Ukrainian troops and units surrendering without a fight.
      A month ago, a bill was introduced in the Ukrainian parliament (but rejected) to allow the shooting of deserters and insubordinates.
      This is not encouraging information with regard to the loss of personnel and motivation of the Ukrainian army and, in my opinion, is contrary to the Ukrainian government’s claim that it has 1 million men under arms.
      I served 23 years as a German officer in the reconnaissance force.

      • from Russia with love

        July 13, 2022 at 11:55 am

        Harald, this resource is definitely not for you 😉 it’s for comic fans like King Roman 🙂 I come here to laugh 🙂
        you draw the right conclusions from the meager information that is available to you. I can add to this the fact that a little more than 10% of the Russian army takes part in the special operation. the hope that the Russians will stop because they run out of troops or precision weapons can be forgotten. Add to this the decree on the mobilization of women in Ukraine and the dispatch of territorial defense units (the equivalent of the volkssturm) to the front line, and the picture of the severity of the situation of the Armed Forces of Ukraine will be almost complete.

    • King Roman

      July 11, 2022 at 5:41 pm

      All the suffering and misery in Ukraine could have been prevented if Biden had had the guts to repear Putin. The war could have been stopped. I have offered to stop the war if I am given a Cyber Force to cut power to the Kremlin and military units in Moscow. I predicted that Putin will soon use his nuclear missiles (of which he has 6250, almost more than other nuclear countries combined!) on Washington, London, and who knows where else. But I gather the general opinion is that Putinn wouldn’t dare. However, he is desperate and mentally unstable (he has worsening Parkinson’s Disease) and he may soon carry out his threats if people don’t listen to me. I need a competent Cyber Force to save the world!!!

  5. Stefan Stackhouse

    July 11, 2022 at 5:36 pm

    He probably does at least wish that he had done things differently. Conventional wisdom requires that attackers have a 3:1 advantage. Putin spread out rather than concentrating his forces, so he didn’t have that superiority anywhere. He is certainly kicking himself in the rear now over that one.

  6. Cerebus001

    July 11, 2022 at 10:38 pm

    Soon to be 40,000 sons of Russia killed, 120,000 maimed and wounded and many more psychologically wounded forever. Their economy will be stunted for generations. Multiple gas pipelines that will not be making any money transporting gas. Thats just so far. And for what ? To achieve what goals? Expand and solidify NATO’s defensive posture? Reveal themselves as a paper tiger again? Render themselves out of the top twenty economies in the world? Those are the only accomplishments thus far and its not looking any better.

    • from Russia with love

      July 13, 2022 at 12:11 pm

      there is one problem… on the internet you can “kill” 40,000 Russians, 100,000, even 200 million, but your virtual world doesn’t affect reality 😉
      at this time, in reality, ukraine is losing settlements every day, does not have the ability to organize an offensive, suffers heavy losses not only on the front line but also in the rear, when the Russian “Caliber” destroy the barracks with soldiers in any part of ukraine.

  7. MHJ

    July 13, 2022 at 2:23 am

    Putins position in Ukraine brings the Chinese proverb to mind ‘He who rides a tiger is afraid to dismount’.

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