Russia estimates 2023 Ukrainian military losses
Ukraine lost over 215,000 troops and 28,000 units of military hardware in 2023, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu has estimated. He also claimed that Russian forces continue to hold the “strategic initiative” along the entire front line.
Last month, the minister announced that Kiev’s casualties since the conflict began in February 2022 had exceeded 383,000 killed and wounded. He noted that Ukraine had sustained nearly half of those losses during its summer counteroffensive, which began in early June but failed to retake any substantial ground.
Speaking at a meeting of senior military commanders on Tuesday, Shoigu said that Russian forces “are methodically diminishing the combat potential of the Ukrainian armed forces.”
“Last year, the enemy’s losses exceeded 215,000 people and 28,000 units of heavy weaponry,” the minister stated. He also vowed to ensure Moscow’s goals in the conflict are achieved.
Shoigu said that despite Kiev’s heavy casualties, the US is set on trying to “realize its world leadership ambitions” at the expense of Ukrainian lives, urging the country to conscript yet more troops. The minister maintained that this would not affect the outcome of the conflict, but merely prolong hostilities unnecessarily.
The Russian military will also focus on keeping its nuclear capabilities at the “highest level of combat readiness,” Shoigu said. He revealed plans to continue developing state-of-the-art weapons, including using AI technology.
Speaking to Ukrainian media on Sunday, the country’s former prosecutor general, Yury Lutsenko, called on the national leadership to admit they had lost 500,000 service members since February 2022. He went on to allege that Ukraine suffers around 30,000 casualties a month on average.
Ukrainians “must know how many have died, and then all debates about the mobilization will be settled,” Lutsenko argued. He believes that the shock would help bring his compatriots “out of the comfort zone,” leading to large queues at recruitment offices, akin to those seen at the start of the conflict.
To boost motivation and fight draft-dodging, the former official also suggested sending members of the Ukrainian elite to the front line.
In December, President Vladimir Zelensky said that the military had asked him to mobilize another 450,000 or 500,000 men. The top brass, however, later disavowed those estimates.