US says Russia has lost 315,000 troops in Ukraine, equivalent to 90% of invading force

By Isaac M December 13, 2023

Russia has had 315,000 of its troops killed or injured in Ukraine, the equivalent of nearly 90 per cent of the total number of soldiers it sent to war when the invasion first began, a declassified US intelligence report said.

Vladimir Putin’s personnel losses in the 22 months of the conflict have set back Russia’s military modernisation by 18 years, a source familiar with the assessment told Reuters.

The numbers represent a far greater tally than Russian officials have ever admitted to, and also outstrip Western estimates of Ukrainian losses.

Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine with a total of 360,000 personnel in February last year. After failing in its attempts to rapidly capture the Ukrainian capital Kyiv, Moscow has since launched several major recruitment drives to further bolster its numbers on the frontline, and replace tiring troops.

The figure of 315,000 Russian losses would be the equivalent of about 87 per cent of the total count with which Moscow started the war on Ukraine, though the US assessment does not clarify if the casualties include forces later sent into the conflict by Russia.

“The scale of losses has forced Russia to take extraordinary measures to sustain its ability to fight. Russia declared a partial mobilisation of 300,000 personnel in late 2022, and has relaxed standards to allow recruitment of convicts and older civilians,” the assessment said.

According to the report, Mr Putin invaded Ukraine with 3,100 tanks but has lost 2,200 of these and is left with only 1,300 tanks on the battlefield. Russia has had to “backfill” the lost tank capacity with Soviet-era T62 tanks it produced in the 1970s, which are now among those still active in the field.

Russia has not commented on the reported losses. The last time it issued an official toll of its casualties in the Ukraine war was in September 2022, when it said 5,937 had been killed. Ukrainian and Western intelligence said at the time that this was likely to be a gross understatement.

While Moscow and Kyiv have treated their actual losses on the battlefield in the course of war as state secrets, Russian officials have called the estimates from the West “vastly exaggerated” and accused them of almost always underestimating Ukrainian losses.

Officials in the US estimated there had been close to 70,000 casualties for Ukraine, according to a report by the New York Times in August this year.

Last month, historian Yaroslav Tynchenko and volunteer Herman Shapovalenko said Shapovalenko’s Book of Memory project had confirmed 24,500 Ukrainian combat and non-combat deaths using open sources. The real figure was likely higher, they said.

This month, Putin ordered another significant increase to the country’s military recruitment efforts, stating his goal of increasing troop numbers by nearly 170,000 to reach a total of 1.32 million.

Mr Putin said he signed the decree in response to “the aggressive activities of the Nato bloc” and in order to further the aims of the special military operation in Ukraine, the phrase the Kremlin uses – and forces Russian media to use – to describe its invasion.


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