On day 434 of the war in Ukraine, the Russian forces continue to take hefty casualties in Ukraine, losing about 100,000 men in four months.
Russian Casualties in Ukraine
The Russian forces continue to take significant casualties on the ground.
The latest U.S. intelligence assessment about Russian casualties estimates that the Russian forces have lost about 100,000 men since December. During a press briefing, White House Coordinator for Strategic Communications at the National Security Council John Kirby said that U.S. intelligence assesses that more than 20,000 Russian troops have been killed in this period and as many as 80,000 wounded.
“Russia has exhausted its military stockpiles and its armed forces. Just since December, we estimate that Russia has suffered more than 100,000 casualties, including over 20,000 killed in action,” Kirby said, adding that “It’s really stunning, these numbers.”
More than half of the losses concern the private military company Wagner Group, which has been leading the fight in the Donbas and especially in the town of Bakhmut.
“The majority are ex-convicts, folks [Wagner Group] went knocking around on doors in prison cells throughout Russia to throw human flesh at this fight,” the White House official added.
Previous Western intelligence estimates assessed that the Russian military, Wagner Group mercenaries, and pro-Russian separatist forces had lost more than 220,000 troops killed or wounded combined.
The Ukrainian estimates are lower, however.
Overall, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense claimed that as of Wednesday, Ukrainian forces have killed and wounded approximately 191,940 Russian troops, destroyed 308 fighter, attack, bomber, and transport jets, 294 attack and transport helicopters, 3,702 tanks, 2,946 artillery pieces, 7,199 armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles, 544 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), 18 boats and cutters, 5,865 vehicles and fuel tanks, 300 anti-aircraft batteries, 2,505 tactical unmanned aerial systems, 363 special equipment platforms, such as bridging vehicles, and four mobile Iskander ballistic missile systems, and 947 cruise missiles shot down by the Ukrainian air defenses.
The Russian forces will have difficulty repelling the upcoming Ukrainian large-scale counteroffensive if the Kremlin doesn’t properly replenish frontline units with fresh men. But besides being fresh, these troops need to be adequately trained and not just cannon fodder. Thus far, the Russian forces have shown that they are unable to achieve both requirements.
Russian Missile Strikes
In the span of four days (April 28 to May 1), the Russian military launched its first missile barrage in almost two months. Using Tu-95 Bear and Tu-160 Blackjack strategic bombers, the Russian military launched about 50 Kh-101 and Kh-555 cruise missiles. But the attacks were shadows compared to previous Russian strikes.
“Both strikes used smaller numbers of missiles than seen in previous attacks, which is likely due to Russian attempts to rebuild its ALCM stockpiles,” the British Military Intelligence assessed in its latest estimate of the war.
Ukrainian air defenses, which now include the U.S. MIM-104 Patriot air defense system, intercepted a good portion of the Russian munitions.
“The observed types of facilities damaged by the Russian strikes indicates a possible shift away from targeting Ukraine’s electrical power network. Both recent strikes were likely focused on Ukraine’s military, industrial and logistical infrastructure,” the British Military Intelligence added.
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. He is currently working towards a Master’s Degree in Strategy, Cybersecurity, and Intelligence at the Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). His work has been featured in Business Insider, Sandboxx, and SOFREP.