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Smart Bombs: Military, Defense and National Security

Putin Has a Problem: 53,850 Dead Russian Troops in Ukraine and No Victory

HIMARS in Ukraine
HIMARS. This is similar to what is being used in Ukraine.

The war in Ukraine approaches its seventh month, and the situation remains volatile. On day 204 of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Ukrainian forces continue their advance toward Kherson and are consolidating their fantastic success in the east.

The Russian Casualties in Ukraine 

The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense claimed that as of Thursday, Ukrainian forces have killed approximately 53,850 Russian troops (and wounded approximately thrice that number), destroyed 250 fighter, attack, and transport jets, 215 attack and transport helicopters, 2,193 tanks, 1,295 artillery pieces, 4,682 armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles, 311 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), 15 boats and cutters, 3,522 vehicles and fuel tanks, 167 anti-aircraft batteries, 908 tactical unmanned aerial systems, 120 special equipment platforms, such as bridging vehicles, and four mobile Iskander ballistic missile systems, and 233 cruise missiles shot down by the Ukrainian air defenses.

The War in the East and South 

The Ukrainian forces continue to consolidate their vast gains after liberating swaths of territory in the east. Now, the Russian forces have mostly withdrawn to the east of the Oskil River, which now serves as a natural frontline between the two armies in the east.

If prior operations are a determiner, the Ukrainian forces are far more likely to ford the river with successful river crossing operations than the Russian military, which lost more than 80 tanks, armored personnel carriers, and infantry fighting vehicles as well as hundreds of troops in an attempt to cross the Siversk Donets River back in May.

According to the British Ministry of Defense, the Russian withdrawal from the east in the face of the Ukrainian counteroffensive varied, with some units retreating in “relatively good order and under control” while others fled in what could be described as a complete rout ditching equipment and even uniforms.

“High-value equipment abandoned by retreating Russian forces included capabilities essential to enable Russia’s artillery-centric style of warfare. Amongst these are at least one ZOOPARK counter-battery radar and at least one IV14 artillery command and control vehicle,” the British Military Intelligence assessed in its latest estimate of the war.

“Such abandonment highlights the disorganised retreat of some Russian units and likely localised breakdowns in command and control,” the British Military Intelligence added.

The Russian Air Forces 

One of the biggest mysteries of the war has been the performance of the Russian Aerospace Forces over Ukraine. Despite its numerical and qualitative superiority, the Russian air forces have failed to achieve crucial air superiority. To be sure, it was easier at the onset of the war than it is now with the vast amount of anti-aircraft weapon systems that the Ukrainians have received.


Su-30. Image Credit: Creative Commons.

In the air war, the Ukrainian forces claimed to have destroyed or damaged 250 Russian aircraft. However, the Oryx open-source intelligence site claims just a fraction of that number (56). To be sure, Oryx only counts casualties that have been visually confirmed with wreckage, and that is certain to narrow the numbers.

Expert Biography: A 19FortyFive 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.



  1. Froike

    September 15, 2022 at 3:21 pm

    Dick Taters like Putin care nothing about their own people. Ask The Parents of The Russian Soldiers that died in Ukraine for Putin’s gluttony and avarice.
    My hope for The Ukrainian People is total victory. My hope for The Russians is to get rid of Putin and start over again. Maybe Russia will be able to live in Peace and Properity with a Democratic Style Government.

  2. Jon

    September 15, 2022 at 4:06 pm

    Something like one tenth of Russian service members have been attritted in the past eight months, but you can’t note that?

    What level of cut and paste shop is going on here?

  3. Wharfplank

    September 16, 2022 at 10:56 am

    Ten years of US in Vietnam…Putin did it in 8 months…bravo

  4. Pa l

    September 16, 2022 at 1:19 pm

    Those Russian casualties were not Russian citizens, they were mostly Ukrainian Russians. Ukraine military has lost 5 times or more that number….so stop with half news…people have enough of that with CNN

  5. erick Cartman

    September 16, 2022 at 2:25 pm

    You believe Ukrainian numbers? I guess you still believe in the Ghost of Kiev and the Snake Island heros. Putin has it already won. His patience is about worn out. He can take out the energy grid and put the country into the dark ages whenever he wants.

  6. Mike

    September 16, 2022 at 4:47 pm

    No way those Ukrainian casualty numbers are correct The USA lost 58K soldiers in all of the Vietnam war. If Russia lost 54 thousand troops in 7 months (30 weeks), that would be 1,800 per week. No way that is correct. There would be a violent revolt in the military, mass protests in the streets of Russia if that number was correct. It doesn’t help the Ukrainians to lie about these numbers

  7. Chef

    September 16, 2022 at 5:50 pm

    Am I reading the Onion?

  8. Ivashko

    September 16, 2022 at 11:25 pm

    of course he doesn’t. Would have been some eleventy hundred trillions if he did.

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