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Putin Is In Trouble: Russia Lost 21,000 Troops in Ukraine Last Month

M777. Image Credit: Creative Commons.
Soldiers serving with Alpha Battery, 2nd Battalion, 77th Field Artillery Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 4th Inf. Division, shoot a round down range from their M777A2 howitzer on Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, Aug. 22, 2014. The round was part of a shoot to register, or zero, the howitzers, which had just arrived on KAF from Forward Operating Base Pasab. The shoot also provided training for a fire support team from 1st Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, 4th IBCT, 4th Inf. Div. This is similar to artillery now engaged in Ukraine. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Ariel Solomon/Released)

A year came and went, and the war in Ukraine continues with no end in sight.

The two sides are tangled up in a deadly fight that has the potential to become one of the deadliest in recent history. 

Despite committing large numbers of troops and resources, Russian forces have achieved very little on the ground.

Indeed, the Russian military has failed to achieve any of its primary objectives.

Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin constantly reiterates his maximalist goals in Ukraine, suggesting that the war will go on for months, if not years. 

What that means for the Russian soldier on the ground is that the prospect of him getting killed or maimed in Ukraine not only continues to exist but is becoming more likely.

February was the deadliest month of the war so far for the Russian forces.

Deadliest Month So Far 

In February—which has at least two days less than in other months—the Russian forces lost approximately 21,500 troops killed or wounded in Ukraine, according to the official Ukrainian figures.  

When it comes to weapon systems, February was also a very costly month for the Russian military and private military company Wagner Group, which plays an important supporting role in the Russian campaign.

Over the 28 days of February, the Russian forces lost 256 armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles, 196 miscellaneous vehicles and fuel tanks, 187 artillery pieces, 186 main battle tanks, 104 unmanned aerial systems, 77 ballistic and cruise missiles, 30 pieces of special equipment, 26 air defense systems, 21 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems, seven fighter, attack, bomber, and transport aircraft, and four helicopters.

There has been an upward trend in Russian casualties lately. Starting in November, every month, the Russian forces are taking more dead and wounded. Indeed, in November, the Russian forces suffered 16,400 casualties; in December, they took 16,520 casualties; and in January, they lost 20,230 troops.

Total Russian Casualties 

As of March 5, the Russian forces have suffered the following losses in the war, according to the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense. Overall, the Ukrainian forces have killed approximately 153,120 Russian troops (and wounded approximately twice to thrice that number)

Destroyed equipment includes: 302 fighter, attack, bomber, and transport jets, 289 attack and transport helicopters, 3,414 tanks, 2,426 artillery pieces, 6,692 armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles, 488 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), 18 boats and cutters, 5,299 vehicles and fuel tanks, 248 anti-aircraft batteries, 2,071 tactical unmanned aerial systems, 232 special equipment platforms, such as bridging vehicles, and four mobile Iskander ballistic missile systems, and 873 cruise missiles shot down by the Ukrainian air defenses. 

But it isn’t just the Ukrainians—who have a vested interest, after all—who claim high Russian casualties.

Western intelligence assessments put the number of Russian losses at around 200,000 killed and wounded, with Ukrainian losses around the same range.

However, the Ukrainians have more wounded than killed compared to the Russians, indicating a better emergency medical system as well as different tactics. 

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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. 

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.