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Through open source research, Mediazona, a Russian independent media outlet, together with BBC Russia, confirmed the names of 26,801 Russian soldiers who had been killed in the past 16 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 16, a total of 1,273 names have been added to the list of casualties. The journalists and volunteers now have also identified over 5,000 former prisoners and over 2,180 mercenaries who have been killed in Ukraine.
Additionally, the report was able to confirm 13 deaths during the Wagner PMC uprising. All of them were Russian pilots.
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.
Inmates are being recruited into the Storm Z units of the Russian Ministry of Defense. However, there is no indication that these former prisoners are being used in a specific area of the front line the same way that Wagner PMC fighters were in Bakhmut.
The media also said that number of mobilized soldiers among the dead surpassed the number of volunteers for the first time since this research began.
Sixteen 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.