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UK Defense Ministry: At current rate, Russia to lose 500,000 troops by 2025

by Alexander Khrebet December 30, 2023 2:09 PM 2 min read
The body of a Russian soldier in a ditch beside the highway leading into Izium, Kharkiv Oblast, on Sept. 14, 2022, shortly after the territory was liberated by Ukraine's forces. (Kostyantyn Chernichkin/The Kyiv Independent) 
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Russia will likely need five to 10 years to rebuild a cohort of highly trained and experienced military units, the U.K. Defense Ministry said in its intelligence update on Dec. 30.

The update comments on the significant rise in the average number of estimated Russian losses, reported daily by Ukraine's General Staff, in 2023 compared to 2022.

The General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces has been reporting around 1,000 Russian casualties daily in 2023 as Russian forces are attempting assaults in several directions in eastern Ukraine, including Avdiivka, Bakhmut, and Kupiansk axes. The reports are estimates by the General Staff that can't be independently verified.

“The increase in daily averages, as reported by the Ukrainian authorities, almost certainly reflects the degradation of Russia’s forces and its transition to a lower quality, high quantity mass army since the ‘partial mobilization’ of reservists in September 2022,” the ministry said in a daily update shared on X (formerly Twitter).

According to Ukraine’s General Staff, as of Dec. 30, Russia has lost 358,270 troops in Ukraine since the beginning of its full-scale invasion on Feb. 24, 2022. The Ukrainian military doesn’t disclose how it has been calculating Russian losses.

Neither Russia nor Ukraine disclose their own casualties.

The British ministry also said that if Russian casualties continue at the current rate, by 2025, Russian forces will have sustained over half a million troops killed and wounded over three years of the full-scale invasion.

“This is compared to the Soviet Union’s 70,000 casualties in the nine-year Soviet-Afghan War,” said the ministry.

The ministry reported in early December that between Feb. 24, 2022, and November 2023, Russian forces “likely suffered around 220,000-280,000 wounded and approximately 70,000 killed.” The estimated number of killed Russian troops includes approximately 20,000 Wagner Group mercenaries.

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

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