The Deadliest Month
But the Russian forces suffered heavy losses in weapon systems too. Indeed, during March, the Russian military and Wagner Group mercenaries lost 343 armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles, 290 artillery pieces, 271 miscellaneous vehicles and fuel tanks, 221 tanks, 198 tactical unmanned aerial systems, 66 special equipment systems, 48 multiple launch rocket systems (MLRS), 38 ballistic and cruise missiles, 32 air defense systems, six fighter or attack jets, and three attack or transport helicopters.
These number contains both Russian military and Wagner Group private military company losses. The numbers are coming from the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense, and they have been fairly on par with Western intelligence assessments of Russian casualties.
In total, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense assesses that the Russian forces have lost more than 182,000 troops killed or wounded. Conversely, the latest Western intelligence estimates suggest that the Russian forces have lost more than 220,000 men.
More concerning for Moscow is the fact that there has been an upward trend in the number of Russian casualties over the past five months.
The Deadliest Month Until the Next?
The upward trend in Russian casualties continues.
Since November, the Russian forces have been suffering increasingly more casualties with each passing month. In November, the Russian forces lost 16,400 men killed or wounded. In December, they lost more than 16,500 men killed or wounded. In the first month of the year, they lost about 20,200 killed or wounded. Then, in February, the Russian forces lost more than 21,500 men killed or wounded. With the 24,100 losses of March, the steady, grim increase in Russian losses continues. But it looks like this will stop in April.
In the last couple of weeks, the rate of Russian casualties has slowed down significantly. Whereas in March the Russian forces were taking more than 700 casualties on most days—with several days producing losses upwards of 1,000 troops—in April the situation is different.
Now, the Russian forces are averaging about 400 to 500 killed and wounded troops a day. The drop in casualties is a result of the failing large-scale Russian offensive in the Donbas. In recent days, the Russian forces have re-energized their assault against the town of Bakhmut. This will likely spike the number of Russian casualties, but it is unlikely that April will prove a deadlier month than March.
The Russian forces are stuck in Ukraine. For the past two months, the Russian military and Wagner Group private military company have been trying to achieve some meaningful progress. However, other than capturing some small settlements and a few miles of territory, the Russian forces have failed to accomplish any of the primary objectives given out by the Kremlin.
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.