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Putin’s Disaster: How Many Russian Soldiers Have Died in Ukraine? 

Spetsnaz Russia Ukraine
Russian Spetsnaz soldiers. Image Credit: Creative Commons.

Russia’s death toll is rapidly rising as Ukraine continues its counteroffensive in Kherson, and Ukrainian military officials this week offered an insight into just how many Russian soldiers have died throughout the conflict.

The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine offered a full breakdown of Russia’s estimated losses in a Facebook graphic, revealing 50,610 “liquidated personnel” and 2,097 destroyed tanks.

Additionally, the update said that 4,520 armored personnel vehicles have been destroyed, along with 156 anti-aircraft systems and more than 200 aircraft and helicopters.

The update promised that the data would be continuously updated and noted that the Russians are suffering the most losses in the Donetsk direction.

The data reveals that while the Kherson offensive is already proving effective for Ukraine, with several major victories announced in just the last few days, Ukraine’s efforts to push back the Russians in Donetsk also continues to be effective. Russian forces are not only struggling with a lack of personnel and equipment, but the Kremlin is struggling to replenish its losses on the battlefield. It means the losses are compounding into a situation so dire for Russia that the Kremlin has resorted to switching off Europe’s gas supply in the hopes of easing some of the sanctions levied against its economy.

900 ‘Elite’ Soldiers Lost in Ukraine

According to a report by the BBC’s Russian service last Thursday, the Russian military has also lost a significant number of its most elite personnel.

The report used public data to estimate that more than 900 elite soldiers have been lost in the war so far, largely as a result of the Russian military not being prepared for assault operations. As a result, the report claims, the tasks normally assigned to the infantry were assigned to special forces, marines, and paratroopers.

It meant that Russia’s top soldiers were put in harm’s way and ultimately fell victim to a Ukrainian defense that proved more effective than Russia anticipated.

“It was these units, traditionally considered the elite of the Russian army, that suffered significant losses during the six months of the invasion of Ukraine. Dozens of military pilots were also killed. According to experts, it will be problematic for Russia to make up for the loss of all these specialists,” the report explains.

Artillery Attack in Ukraine

Artillery Attack in Ukraine. Image Credit: Creative Commons.

While the exact number of elite soldiers lost in Ukraine is classified, the publicly available data shows that at least 337 marines have been killed since the beginning of the war, along with 245 members of the National Guard’s special forces, 151 soldiers from Russia’s military intelligence, and 144 members of Russia’s elite paratrooper units. The combined losses are serious for Russia, not just because it leaves the military immediately weaker, but because the time and cost of training these elite soldiers make it difficult for Russia to quickly replace them.

According to the BBC, it can take as long as 17 years and cost as much as $14 million to train an elite military pilot – and Russia has reportedly lost at least 67 of those, too.

Jack Buckby is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.

Written By

Jack Buckby is 19FortyFive's Breaking News Editor. He is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.

8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. Jack

    September 7, 2022 at 9:57 pm

    Russia needs to dream up a face saving way to get out of Ukraine

  2. speedster

    September 8, 2022 at 12:27 am

    The Russian pilots lost are equivalent to 1,139 years of pilot training lost to russia. Also the loss of special troops highlights just how far the ukraine military has progressed, in the seven years since the 2014 invasion of ukraine.

    The impression of Russia’s military actions is of a haphazard approach that resembles the equivalent of throwing mud at a wall and hoping some sticks. Military conflict does not occur on the same time scale, as say cooking an omelette, but there is a creeping inevitability showing that the initiative is now with Ukraine and not Russia.

    Putin s imperial ambitions clothed in the initial propaganda of rescuing Russian speakers, is now wearing thin, and what at first maybe seemed an attractive idea to Putin, has now headed in the direction of abject failure.

  3. TheDon

    September 8, 2022 at 7:05 am

    The 1945 articles are losing credibility. Yesterday the high losses expected was written and verified by a hospitalized soldier.
    Relying on ukranian or russian information doesnt paint a realistic picture.
    Its not a rosey simple problem.
    Ukraine needs help and air support. Europe blindly selected a single energy source. An incredibly ignorant decision.
    In a few months cold sets in.
    Governments should act now train pilots and allow ukraine some air attacks.
    Taking out gasprom pipelines also means cold russians. Cold changes opinions. A pipeline shutdown requires pumps off which takes a month to restart. Longer range missiles send the message back to the people.
    War is war.
    O

  4. Old Desert Coyote

    September 8, 2022 at 9:39 am

    While we all find all the CHATTER on the Internet interesting and some times amusing the real stuff is going on back channel. I would like to be the bug in the room of the White house, the Kremlin and Warsaw when the back channel telephone calls are made.

    I will bet there are a lot of informal understandings made. You know like why was Poland going to send all their MIG 29’s to Ukraine but all of a sudden they didn’t. Then low and behold a week or so later it was announced that Poland is going to get an accelerated delivery of F-35’s, and a whole slew of M1A1’s thrown in. And why did we pull our Naval assets out of the Black sea? Can you imagine what a US Navy Carrier Battle Group making a port of Call visit to CONSTANTA, ROMANIA (A member of NATO) and (a mere 190 miles from Odessa Ukraine). That would get Putin’s panties in big knot.

    Like I said a lot of back channel stuff is going on!

  5. Scooter Van Neuter

    September 8, 2022 at 12:30 pm

    Putin is being pushed into a corner and his inevitable actions to save face are increasingly ominous. Anyone assuming he’s going to throw up his hands and withdraw is deluded.

  6. Dave Nelson

    September 8, 2022 at 2:40 pm

    Putin cannot (physically) survive a loss to Ukraine. He might be able to survive a loss to NATO, The difference here is what the Russian people are told… a message of “We were winning until those bastards in NATO snuck up on us….”might save him.

    If he thinks that is is only chance to live into his 70’s he just might provoke NATO to joining the fight… and if there is such a provocation we should read it as he knows he has lost.

  7. Vlad snivels too much

    September 8, 2022 at 6:12 pm

    Given Putin’s disregard for life it seems that not nearly enough Russian have met their fate in Ukraine. Does the Russian army issue body bags for each soldier to carry into certain death battles against Ukraine?

  8. Vlad snivels

    September 10, 2022 at 1:11 am

    Given Zelensky’s disregard for life it seems that not nearly enough Ukrainian have met their fate. Does the Ukrainian army issue body bags for each soldier to carry into certain death battles against Russia?

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