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UK estimates between 20,000–30,000 regular Russian forces, Wagner fighters have been killed, wounded in Bakhmut since last May
A U.K. official said during his speech in Vienna on March 15 that Russian military leaders have sacrificed military units and squandered strategic resources for small tactical gains.
"Russia is suffering extremely heavy casualty rates," military advisor Ian Stubbs said. "Since May last year, between 20 – 30,000 Wagner and regular Russian forces have been killed and wounded in the area around Bakhmut alone – a huge loss of human life for a total territorial advance of approximately just 25 kilometers."
The U.K. estimated that this is over 800 Russian personnel killed or wounded for each kilometre gained, the vast majority of them being Wagner fighters.
In wake of this, Wagner Group owner Yevgeny Prigozhin is finding it "increasingly difficult to resupply what he has termed the 'meat grinder in eastern Ukraine," according to Stubbs. Earlier this month, Wagner set up outreach teams based in sports centres in at least 40 locations across Russia. In recent days, masked Wagner recruiters have even given career talks in Moscow high schools, distributing questionnaires entitled “application of a young warrior” to collect the contact details of interested pupils.
Besides human losses, Russia has suffered "huge heavy armoured vehicle losses," Stubbs said, adding that the country was forced to deploy 60-year-old T-62 main battle tanks onto the front line.
Since the summer of 2022, approximately 800 antiquated T-62s have been taken out from storage. More recently, Russian BTR-50 armoured personnel carriers have also been deployed in Ukraine, vintage vehicles first fielded into the Russian military in 1954.