It is no secret that Russian forces have taken heavy casualties in Ukraine. But the exact numbers have been up for debate, with each warring party and independent entity claiming a different figure.
Recently, U.S. officials came out with an assessment that the Russian forces have suffered around 200,000 killed and wounded troops.
Now, British Military Intelligence is corroborating those numbers in its latest operational update on the conflict.
Heavy Russian Casualties in Ukraine
The British Military Intelligence assesses that the Russian military and mercenary forces “have likely suffered” between 175,000 to 200,000 casualties since the start of the war on February 24.
These figures include between 40,000 to 60,000 troops killed in action.
These are devastating casualties for a military that lost approximately 15,000 men in its last major war in Afghanistan—which lasted a decade (1979-1989) and not just 11 months as the current conflict.
The figures also indicate the poor medical services of the Russian forces.
Depending on which figure of killed in action is accurate, we are talking about a ratio of one in five or one in three killed compared to those wounded.
“By modern standards, these figures represent a high ratio of personnel killed compared to those wounded. This is almost certainly due to extremely rudimentary medical provision across much of the force,” the British Military Intelligence assessed in its latest estimate of the war.
The Russian casualties have skyrocketed since the Kremlin initiated a partial mobilization in September.
The British Military Intelligence added that “artillery has almost certainly inflicted the majority of Russia’s casualties.”
Both sides have been using artillery profusely. The Ukrainian forces have a qualitative advantage because of the Western weapon systems they operate, including the M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS), M270 Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS), and M-777 155mm howitzer with the M982 Excalibur precision-guided munition.
But Russian forces have a quantitative superiority, firing more than 20,000 artillery shells a day on some occasions.
As far as the infamous Wagner Group private military company, the British Military Intelligence assessed that it has experienced a casualty rate “of up to 50%.”
According to the U.S. intelligence assessments, the Kremlin has deployed as many as 50,000 Wagner Group mercenaries in Ukraine, the vast majority of who are convicts. Indeed, only 10,000 are contractors and the rest 40,000 inmates who opted for a chance at freedom in exchange for six months in Ukraine.
The Ukrainian Assessment
The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense has been releasing a daily update on the Russian casualties.
Overall, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense claimed that as of Friday, Ukrainian forces have killed approximately 141,260 Russian troops (and wounded approximately twice to thrice that number),
Destroyed equipment includes: 298 fighter, attack, bomber, and transport jets, 287 attack and transport helicopters, 3,298 tanks, 2,322 artillery pieces, 6,520 armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles, 467 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), 18 boats and cutters, 5,187 vehicles and fuel tanks, 241 anti-aircraft batteries, 2,013 tactical unmanned aerial systems, 221 special equipment platforms, such as bridging vehicles, and four mobile Iskander ballistic missile systems, and 871 cruise missiles shot down by the Ukrainian air defenses.
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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 Insider, Sandboxx, and SOFREP.
February 18, 2023 at 8:08 am
“The first casualty of war is the truth” -Proverbial
Part of the problem may be defining the term “casualty”. Does it include, dead, wounded, deserted, surrendered, captured, civilian, MIA and/or what portion, thereof?
Seems a figure of 200k Russian casualties is in the right ball park if all those categories are included. Indeed, Ukraine may have about the same total as their civilian casualties are very high.
The destruction of life, limb and property is taking an extreme toll on both sides, if not the entire world.
Certainly, the Russian people are under great strain even though it’s not readily apparent to the west.
How long can it go on at this intensity?