The United Kingdom's Ministry of Defence has provided new estimates on the Russian military's casualties in the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. The estimates suggest that between 70,000 Russian soldiers and mercenaries have been killed, and between 180,000 to 240,000 have been injured since Russia's full-scale invasion started on February 24, 2022.
The Grim Toll
The report indicates that approximately 50,000 casualties belong to the Russian army's regular units, while the remaining 20,000 are members of the 'Wagner' group, a private military company. Furthermore, the injured personnel count includes 40,000 mercenaries. The estimated total number of Russian combatants lost to the conflict, including both the killed and injured, ranges between 290,000 and 350,000.
The Cloak of Secrecy
Both Russia and Ukraine have been notably secretive about their casualty figures, making it challenging to confirm these estimates. NATO's estimates, as of the end of November, suggest a similar figure, with the number of Russian soldiers killed or wounded exceeding 300,000. The New York Times had reported earlier in the summer, citing US government officials, that 120,000 Russian soldiers had been killed and 170,000 to 180,000 had been wounded.
A Culture of Dishonest Reporting
The UK Ministry of Defence has also pointed out that there is probably a low level of understanding of the total casualties among Russian officials due to a long-standing culture of dishonest reporting in the military. This means that Russian officials likely don't have an accurate count of their own combatant losses since the invasion of Ukraine began.
The report also estimates that 70,000 Ukrainian soldiers have died and 100,000 to 120,000 have been injured in the conflict.