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UK Defense Ministry: Russia loses estimated 320,000 troops in Ukraine

by Elsa Court and The Kyiv Independent news desk December 4, 2023 3:07 PM 3 min read
Two soldiers walk among destroyed trees in the morning fog, as the 10th Mountain Assault Brigade 'Edelveys' operate at the zero frontline with infantry holding fire at positions 100 meters below Russian positions, on Oct. 25, 2023 in the Bakhmut district of Ukraine. Kostya Liberov/Libkos via Getty Images)
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An estimated 320,000 Russian troops have been killed or injured since Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the U.K. Defense Ministry reported in an intelligence update on Dec. 4.

Neither Moscow nor Kyiv releases public information about troop losses, but the Russian military's culture of dishonest reporting means that Russian officials themselves likely have a "low level of understanding" about casualty figures, the ministry said.

Between Feb. 24, 2022, and November 2023, Russian forces "likely suffered around 220,000-280,000 wounded and approximately 70,000 killed," the intelligence update said.  

The range of losses has been calculated as between 290,000 and 350,000 personnel, with the 320,000 figure being the median figure.

The latest Ukrainian military update said that Russia has lost over 332,000 troops in Ukraine since the start of the full-scale invasion.  

The New York Times reported in August that Russia's military casualties were nearing 300,000, citing U.S. officials. The figure included an estimated 120,000 deaths on the Russian side, which Moscow "routinely" undercounts, the report said.

The U.K. Defense Ministry reported that of the estimated 70,000 troops killed, approximately 20,000 were Wagner Group mercenaries.  

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Russian independent media outlet Mediazona, together with the BBC's Russian Service, confirmed on Dec. 1 the names of 38,261 Russian soldiers who have been killed since the beginning of Russia's full-scale invasion.

The journalists said that the actual figures are likely considerably higher since the information they have verified so far comes from public sources, including obituaries, posts by relatives, news in regional media, and reports by local authorities.

Mediazona added that the "sheer volume of incoming data is overwhelming our processing capabilities."

As in the previous update, the increase in casualties stems largely from Russian soldiers killed near Avdiivka in Donetsk Oblast, where a battle has been raging since early October.

Ukraine's 47th Mechanized Brigade said on Nov. 6 that almost 7,000 Russian soldiers had been killed or wounded over the previous weeks near Avdiivka.  

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