On day 284 of the war in Ukraine, the Russian public is growing increasingly dissatisfied with the conflict in Ukraine as losses keep growing.
The Russian Casualties in Ukraine: Updated Numbers
A big part of the Russian public’s dissatisfaction with the war has to do with the casualties that the Russian forces have been taking.
According to the official Ukrainian estimates, in the month of November, the Russian military lost more than 15,000 troops killed in action and tens of thousands more wounded or sick. In addition, the Russians lost hundreds of tanks, infantry fighting vehicles, and other weapon systems.
Overall, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense claimed that as of Sunday, Ukrainian forces have killed approximately 91,150 Russian troops (and wounded approximately twice to thrice that number), destroyed 281 fighter, attack, bomber, and transport jets, 263 attack and transport helicopters, 2,922 tanks, 1,908 artillery pieces, 5,892 armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles, 395 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), 16 boats and cutters, 4,479 vehicles and fuel tanks, 210 anti-aircraft batteries, 1,573 tactical unmanned aerial systems, 163 special equipment platforms, such as bridging vehicles, and four mobile Iskander ballistic missile systems, and 531 cruise missiles shot down by the Ukrainian air defenses.
Russian Public Support Waning
More than nine months of war and tens of thousands of casualties have made the Russian people rethink President Vladimir Putin’s “special military operation” in Ukraine.
The heavy Western sanctions and a partial mobilization that officially called up 300,000 men (an unofficial mobilization that has been going on for months might have called up close to a million men), certainly haven’t helped the Russian people be more favorable to the war.
The Russian military, after all, is losing. And no amount of propaganda and official censoring can truly hide the fact that the Russian forces are suffering badly in Ukraine and that the war has gone completely to the south.
According to the British Ministry of Defense, a recent poll by an independent Russian outlet shows that support for the war is “falling significantly” among the Russian public.
“An independent Russian media outlet has claimed access to data collected by Russia’s Federal Protective Service for internal use. The data indicated 55 percent of Russians favour peace talks with Ukraine, with only 25 percent claiming to support continuing the conflict. These results are consistent with a separate October 2022 survey where 57 percent of respondents reported being in favour of talks. In April 2022, around 80 percent of Russians claimed to support the operation,” the British Military Intelligence assessed in its latest estimate of the war.
The Russian public, of course, isn’t getting the whole story about the progress of the war.
“Despite the Russian authorities’ efforts to enforce pervasive control of the information environment, the conflict has become increasingly tangible for many Russians since the September 2022 ‘partial mobilisation’. With Russia unlikely to achieve major battlefield successes in the next several months, maintaining even tacit approval of the war amongst the population is likely to be increasingly difficult for the Kremlin,” the British Military Intelligence added.
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.