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 May 5, a total of 1,231 names have been added to the list of casualties. This figure represents the average number of casualties over the past month and a half, which is smaller than the peak we observed at the beginning of the year. During that time, an average of 1,500 to 2,000 deaths were confirmed every two weeks.
Among the casualties, inmates still make up the largest group. We know about over 4,000 Wagner PMC fighters who were recruited from Russian prisons.
Following the inmates, volunteers comprise the second-largest group. We define volunteers as individuals who joined the armed forces after the start of the invasion, excluding mobilised soldiers, inmates, and Wagner PMC fighters, as these groups have separate categories.
Currently, we have the names of 2,229 mobilised soldiers on record.
As of now, we know the names of 10 individuals killed in the attack on the military aviation group in the Bryansk region. Eight of them were crew members of Mi-8 helicopters tasked with electronic warfare, meaning they provided protection to aircraft against guided missiles. The other two were pilots of the Su-35 figther jet and the Su-34 fighter-bomber jet. The list is potentitially incomplete as the authorities of the Bryansk region have requested the assistance of local residents in the search for one of the pilots.
The pilots who died in this attack were relatively young: the oldest among them was 34 years old, and the youngest was 23; according to leaks from the databases, many of them had only recently graduated. The ranks of all the deceased in the group could not be established, but the most senior among them held the rank of Captain.
This week, we learned about the deaths of two Colonels: the political officer of the 2nd Army Corps, Evgeny Brovko, and the commander of the 4th Separate Motorised Rifle Brigade, Vyacheslav Makarov. Both were killed near Bakhmut, where the Ukrainian Armed Forces are conducting offensives on the flanks.
The fact that the Ministry of Defence reported these deaths is quite unusual, as the military rarely acknowledges the officer casualties. Usually, the news come from the local authorities. This acknowledgment is likely connected to the feud between the Ministry of Defence and the Wagner PMC chief, Yevgeny Prigozhin. It can be interpreted as the army’s response to his claims that the military had surrendered positions near Bakhmut. Both officers commanded former units of the “People’s Militia of the Luhansk People’s Republic” but had no connection with Luhansk itself. Evgeny Brovko was from the Novosibirsk region, while Vyacheslav Makarov was from Zabaykalsky krai, both in Siberia. During the mobilisation, Makarov had served as a draft officer in the Magadan region and Khabarovsk Krai (Russian Far East).
Furthermore, a retired Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Yurchenko appears to have “heroically died,” according to the monument honoring him, a year ago on April 28. He was 72 years old at the time of his death, making him the oldest serviceman among the known casualties. The circumstances of his death are unknown, and Yurchenko’s last place of work was the Russian Air Force’s Central Research Institute.
High-ranking officer deaths identified over four weeks
Most of those killed in action come from the Sverdlovsk and Chelyabinsk regions, Bashkiria, Buryatia, and the Volgograd region. Unusually high number of casualty reports from the 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.
153 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 May 5, we’ve been able to confirm deaths of over 2,000 officers. 236 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 almost 16,700 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 18,600 reports mention the age of the dead. In the first six months of the war, when mostly regular military units were fighting, 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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