Ukraine War Update: The deadliest one-day battle in all of history occurred at Borodino in the late summer of 1812, when nearly 45,000 of Tsar Alexander I’s troops were either killed or wounded – almost a third of the Russian forces. More than two-thirds of the casualties were killed in the fighting or died of their wounds. Even the carnage of the First and Second World Wars failed to see so many losses in a single day.
Though Russia’s current losses aren’t nearly so great, this week the Kremlin reportedly lost 740 troops in a 24-hour period, bringing the total death toll to 96,000. The figures, shared on social media by the Kyiv Independent and based on Ukrainian Ministry of Defense reports, haven’t been verified – but Pentagon officials believe the estimates haven’t been greatly exaggerated.
According to the Ukrainian General Staff, which has provided a regular update on Russian losses since the war of aggression began at the end of February, claimed that Russia has also lost 5,937 armed vehicles (+7), 4,562 (tank) vehicles (+13), 2,970 tanks (+4) and 171 special equipment (+1). Russian losses remain the same in artillery systems, 1,931, drones, 1,617, multiple rocket launchers, 404, aircraft, 281, helicopters, 264, and boats, 16.
Western Figures on Ukraine Deaths
Even if the Ukrainian figures are inflated, Russia’s losses can only be described as staggering. The UK’s Ministry of Defence has also been tracking the casualties in Ukraine and revealed this week a “bleak set of figures” on Kremlin military losses.
“We can say that we estimate over 100,000 Russians are either dead, injured, or have deserted,” UK Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said on Monday as he delivered updates on the war to London’s House of Commons. Video of Wallace’s remarks has been shared on Twitter.
It was on Sunday that Russian forces also had lost another 24 main battle tanks (MBTs), while Russia has seen 300 to 400 soldiers killed daily – and as a result, could hit the grim 100,000 dead milestone by Christmas. It remains unclear how long the Kremlin can sustain such losses.
It was in early November, that a senior Pentagon official explained that Russia has lost more than half of its tank force in the fighting, and it now lacks the ability to replenish its stockpiles.
“Russia will emerge from this war weaker than it went in,” predicted Under Secretary for Defense for Policy Colin Kahl. “They have suffered tens of thousands of casualties in eight months — orders of magnitude more than [the Soviet Union] experienced in Afghanistan in 10 years.”
It isn’t just the men and material that have been essentially squandered in the seemingly futile war. Russia’s standing in the world has dramatically suffered and it could take decades to be restored. On Monday, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told CNBC that the West had tried to build bridges with Russia since the end of the Cold War but any trust that was established in recent years has been destroyed by Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.
Despite those facts, the bloody campaign shows no signs of ending soon. This week, the Kremlin flat-out rejected Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s calls for Russian troops to be pulled out by Christmas. Instead, Moscow has urged Kyiv to accept Moscow’s claim over the lands that its forces now occupy.
“The Ukrainian side needs to take into account the realities that have developed during this time,” Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said on Tuesday.
It appears that Russia can’t accept the reality of what the war has already cost.
A Senior Editor for 19FortyFive, Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer. He has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,000 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes and Clearance Jobs. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu.