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Through open source research, Mediazona, a Russian independent media outlet, together with BBC Russia, confirmed the names of 25,528 Russian soldiers who had been killed in the past 15 months of the full-scale war. The media organizations carry out a name-by-name count of the dead.
Since the media's latest update on June 4, a total of 1,058 names have been added to the list of casualties. The journalists and volunteers now have also identified around 4,721 former prisoners and over 1,853 mercenaries who have been killed in Ukraine.
Mediazona explains that obituaries published in Russian newspapers and online rarely specify where exactly a fighter died. Moreover, a significant portion of the data comes not from public reports, but from cemeteries across Russia that volunteers visit.
The report also indicating that Russia's Ministry of Defense is discouraging regional authorities from publishing obituaries for soldiers killed in Ukraine in order to obstruct research on Russian military deaths.
Fifteen months into the war, the number of Russian casualties verified through open sources has long since surpassed the officially confirmed number of deaths of Soviet soldiers during the nine-year war in Afghanistan. Over 15,000 Soviet troops were killed in Afghanistan from 1979 until 1989.