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4 Dec, 2023 22:08

UK revises estimate of Russian casualties

The “likely” figures are in line with claims by the Ukrainian military
UK revises estimate of Russian casualties

The British Ministry of Defence claimed on Monday that 50,000 Russian soldiers have died and up to 240,000 have been wounded in the course of the Ukraine conflict, with another 20,000 killed and 40,000 wounded in the ranks of the now-disbanded Wagner group.

Between February 2022 and the end of November, the Russian military “likely suffered between 180,000 and 240,000 personnel wounded and approximately 50,000 killed,” the MoD said on X (formerly Twitter). 

“Wagner Group mercenaries likely suffered approximately 40,000 wounded and 20,000 killed,” the MoD claimed, for a total of “around 220,000-280,000 wounded and approximately 70,000 killed.”

According to a note on the MoD website, “likely” refers to a probability interval of 55-75%. 

The Russian government has “likely a low level of understanding about total casualty figures because of a long-established culture of dishonest reporting” in the military, the British claimed.

London’s casualty estimates appear to closely track with the numbers published by Kiev. The Ukrainian general staff published its own report on Monday, claiming that Russia has lost a total of 332,810 troops since February 2022.

Neither Russia nor Ukraine have released official loss figures for their own side, leaving room for outside speculation. The New York Times claimed in August that Russia had nearly 300,000 casualties – of which 120,000 were killed in action – to Ukraine’s 70,000 dead and 100,000 wounded, for example. 

Meanwhile, the BBC and Mediazona – a ‘Russian independent media outlet’ founded by Western-backed ‘Pussy Riot’ activists – said to have confirmed the obituaries of 38,261 Russian soldiers as of December 1.

Aleksey Arestovich, a former aide to Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky, spoke of “up to 300,000” dead in Ukraine during an interview on Friday. The same day, at a press briefing, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said that Kiev had suffered 125,000 casualties just since its ‘counteroffensive’ began in early June.

Zelensky has promised to unveil a new mobilization plan to make up for manpower shortages. According to Russian intelligence, Kiev’s Western backers have pressured Zelensky into drafting teenagers, women, and the elderly. Some experts in Germany have warned that mobilizing more workers could collapse Ukraine’s economy as well.