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290,000 ‘Casualties’: Putin’s War in Ukraine Is a Historic Quagmire for Russia

Almost 20 months into the war in Ukraine, the actual cost of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s miscalculation is becoming apparent. 

Russian TOS-1A in Ukraine. Image Credit: Creative Commons.

Almost 20 months into the war in Ukraine, the actual cost of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s miscalculation is becoming apparent. 

Recent Russian counterattacks against the Ukrainian positions near Avdiivka have come at an extremely heavy cost.

Thousands of Russian troops have been killed or wounded without any meaningful progress to show for it.

Casualties and Block in Avdiivka 

Over the weekend, the British Military Intelligence assessed that the Russian military’s renewed offensives in the direction of Avdiivka has been the main source of Russian losses.

“Recent Russian assaults in Avdiivka have contributed to a 90% increase in Russian casualties recorded by the Ukrainian MoD,” the British Military Intelligence stated.

“Since February 2022, Russia has significantly increased its force footprint on the ground in Ukraine by intensifying recruitment using financial incentives and the partial mobilisation conducted in Autumn 2022,” the British Military Intelligence stated.

This force generation was necessary to establish a defensive posture but also maintain the ability to counterattack. The Russian forces have been hard-pressed to counter the Ukrainian counteroffensives.

“It is likely that Russia has suffered 150,000-190,000 permanent casualties (killed and permanently wounded) since the conflict began, with the total figure including temporarily wounded (recovered and due to return to the battlefield) in the region of 240,000-290,000,” the British Military Intelligence stated.

The British Military Intelligence added that these figures don’t include the losses suffered by the Wagner Group private military company. The now-out-of-favor mercenary force spearheaded Russian offensive operations around the town of Bakhmut for months, ending up capturing it in May. However, in the process, the Wagner Group suffered extremely heavy losses. Western intelligence estimates put the number of Wagner Group losses to more than 30,000 killed and wounded. 

Russian Casualties in Ukraine 

The Ukrainian account of Russian losses largely corroborates the Western assessments

On day 607 of the Kremlin’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the Russian military and pro-Russian separatist forces lost more than 800 men killed, wounded, or captured, as well as dozens of heavy weapon systems.

After a month of relatively low casualties, the Russian forces are once more suffering great losses on the battlefield. Indeed, in less than two weeks, the Russians have suffered extremely heavy casualties. 

Specifically, in recent days, the Russian forces lost approximately 10,000 men, 405 armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles, 328 artillery pieces and multiple launch rocket systems, 261 tactical and support vehicles, and 209 main battle tanks.

Overall, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense claims that as of Monday, Ukrainian forces have killed and wounded approximately 294,700 Russian troops, destroyed 324 fighter, attack, bomber, and transport jets, 324 attack and transport helicopters, 5,093 tanks, 7,057 artillery pieces, 9,653 armored personnel carriers, and infantry fighting vehicles, 825 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), 21 warships, submarines, boats, and cutters, 9,419 vehicles, and fuel tanks, 551 anti-aircraft batteries, 5,345 tactical unmanned aerial systems, 998 special equipment platforms, such as bridging vehicles, and four mobile Iskander ballistic missile systems, and 1,536 cruise missiles shot down by the Ukrainian air defenses.   

A 19FortyFive Defense and National Security Columnist, Stavros Atlamazoglou is a seasoned defense journalist specializing in special operations and a Hellenic Army veteran (national service with the 575th Marine Battalion and Army HQ). He holds a BA from the Johns Hopkins University, an MA from the Johns Hopkins’ School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), and is pursuing a J.D. at Boston College Law School. His work has been featured in Business InsiderSandboxx, and SOFREP.

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.