15,000 or 40,000: How many Russians were killed in Ukraine? | Abroad

15,000 or 40,000: How many Russians were killed in Ukraine?  |  Abroad

British and US intelligence agencies say 15,000 Russians have already been killed in Ukraine. Ukraine keeps it at about 40,000. How do they get to these numbers?

It’s an amazing list. The Ukraine World Organization, an English-speaking NGO from Ukraine, has calculated what the Russian military has lost since the invasion began. Remarkable is the number of dead and wounded soldiers: 39,870. Moreover, according to Ukraine World, 1,737 tanks, 880 artillery systems, 222 aircraft, 189 helicopters, 722 drones, 2835 trucks and tankers, among others, were destroyed.

on the high side

Now Ukraine World is not directly affiliated with the government, but the organization defends the interests of the state, according to its website. In addition, she receives money from America and from NATO. The estimate for the number of Russian casualties is also quite similar to that of the government in Kyiv: 38,500. International experts believe that this number appears high. Ukraine also has an interest in portraying the opponent as weak as possible. For example, Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov reported that 11,000 Russian casualties were reported in the fighting for Sheferodonetsk and Lyzhyansk alone. No one has confirmed this yet.

At the end of last month, the British and American intelligence services MI5 and the CIA released their own estimates of the number of Russian military casualties. They kept that at 15,000. This includes the dead and wounded, because those are no longer able to fight either. The number reaches nearly a hundred victims a day. These numbers seem more realistic than the Ukrainian ones, if only because the British and Americans often seemed to have good intelligence before and during the war. The British Ministry of Defense also contributed: which amounted to 25,000 Russian casualties.

super secret

The question, of course, is: How does everyone arrive at these numbers? It is known that the Russians do not keep track of their losses, let alone share them with others. So where did they come from? Leading Weekly The Economist He devoted an article to the scattering of numbers, and immediately concluded that no one would ever reveal how he got his information. Often this is a very secret, but it can be guessed.

For example, the numbers may come from spies within the Russian government, or from messages intercepted from the front in which Russian leaders indicate how many men have been lost. But even these numbers cannot necessarily be trusted. Observers believe that the data that ultimately ends up with Putin may have been tampered with as well. Senior military personnel are afraid to reach the Kremlin with very bad news.

Another way is to rely on Ukrainian military sources. It could be of some value. For example, if a certain type of Russian tank is hit, it is known how many men are inside. It becomes more difficult when it comes to artillery shelling, as it often happens in the eastern Donbass region. You can hit a target, but determining the number of casualties is more complicated. Note that the “margin of error” is quite large here The Economist dry. “It’s not an exact science,” said a Western official.


Suppose the number of dead and wounded is already 15,000, then we can compare this with previous wars. For example, in the two Chechen wars fought by Russia (in 1994-1996 and in 1999-2009), it is estimated that there were between 20,000 and 40,000 Russian military casualties. In the ten-year Afghan war there were 15,000. That’s a lot, but relatively speaking is much less than the Russian losses in the five months that the war in Ukraine now continues.

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