Mediazona, working with BBC News Russian service and a team of volunteers, continues to collect data about the casualties sustained by the Russian military in Ukraine. These numbers do not represent the actual death toll since we can only review publicly available reports including social media posts by relatives, reports in local media, and statements by the local authorities.
The real death toll is much higher. Besides, the number of soldiers missing in action or captured is not known.
This article is divided into two parts: a summary, which is updated once every two weeks, and infographics that provide information on Russian casualties since the beginning of the war. While the summaries change infrequently, the data in the infographics is updated regularly.
ЧИТАТЬ НА РУССКОМ
Since our latest update on March 10, over 1,200 names have been added to the list of casualties.
For the first time since we started the count, convicts are at the top of the list: we now know the names of over 2,200 inmates who were recruited from prisons. Together with other Wagner PMC mercenaries, they continue to die in the fights for Bakhmut.
Other categories show a slower growth. The deaths of more than 1,600 mobilised men have been confirmed, although we are sure that there are more of them in our list. The fact that a person was mobilised isn't necessarily indicated in reports about his death.
In this sence, it's easier to confirm inmate deaths: Russian courts publish many of the sentences with the last names and initials of convicts.
In the last two weeks, 4 Russian officers with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel or higher have died. Among them is Stanislav Kuydin: as of 2019 (the latest data available), he was the commander of the 36th penal battalion stationed in Zabaykalsky Krai. How the head of such a unit could end up fighting in the war remains unknown: there was no official information about Russian penal battalions in Ukraine.
High-ranking officer deaths identified over two weeks
Most of those killed in action come from the Sverdlovsk and Chelyabinsk regions, Bashkiria, Buryatia, and Dagestan. Unusually high number of casualty reports from Krasnodar region can be attributed to local volunteers’ frequent visits to the cemeteries to photograph new graves, so a greater number of casualties becomes public knowledge.
This is how the casualties are distributed across the Russian regions. These are absolute figures, no adjustments to the population of the region or number of military units station there have been made.
You can choose between the total amount of casualties and a breakdown by army branch, as well as see where the mobilised soldiers who were killed came from.
In the majority of cases, a fallen serviceman’s branch is either listed on the death report, or can be identified from the uniform and insignia on their photos.
Mobilised soldiers, volunteers, and inmates do not have separate branches, but we indicated them separately to allow for comparisons to regular military personnel. Here’s how the deaths are distributed across army branches.
Volunteer units have been sustaining the heaviest casualties since the summer as opposed to death tolls from February and the spring: in the first weeks, the Airborne forces suffered heaviest losses, the Motorised rifle forces followed suit. A large number of those killed in action with no branch identified were volunteer fighters.
Towards the end of 2022 and the beginning of this year, losses among prisoners recruited by the Wagner PMC noticeably increased. These individuals were formed into “assault groups” to attack Ukrainian positions near Bachmut.
In March 2023, inmates became the largest category in our war casualty count.
130 military pilots are known to have been killed. The loss of pilots is particularly painful for the army: it takes 7–8 years to train one first-class frontline pilot, and costs about $3.4 million. The loss of each pilot also means the loss of expensive equipment.
By March 24, we’ve been able to confirm deaths of over 1,900 officers. 211 of them had the rank of a Lieutenant Colonel or higher.
Officers killed in Ukraine
As of today, only two deputy commanders of the armies have been officially confirmed as killed: Major General Andrey Sukhovetsky of the 41st Army, and Major General Vladimir Frolov of the 8th Army. Retired Major General Kanamat Botashev, 63, was killed in late May; former fighter pilot had likely volunteered to rejoin the Armed forces. Another Major General, Roman Kutuzov, was reported dead on June 5; deputy commander of the Black Sea Fleet, Captain 1st Rank Andrey Paliy, is also among the casualties.
The date of the deaths is provided in more than 13,000 reports. The number of casualties per day according to this data is a poor reflection of the real picture, but it does suggest which days saw the most intensive fighting.
It also has to be mentioned that the latest data is likely incomplete, further updates may introduce significant changes.
Over 14,500 reports mention the age of the dead. In regular military units, the 21–23-year-old bracket saw the highest number of deaths. Volunteer and mobilised fighters are considerably older. Generally, men who go to war as volunteers are aged 30–35 and older, and the majority of mobilised soldiers are older than 25.
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