15:48 26 Jan 2024

Russia has lost at least 3,000 officers since the beginning of war – investigation

Photo: Main Directorate of Intelligence of Ukraine

Since the beginning of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Russia has lost at least 3,079 officers. 

The identities and confirmed deaths of 43,014 Russian troops (excluding militants from Donetsk and Luhansk regions) have been established, Rubryka reports, referring to investigations by BBC and "Mediazona."

"Overall, since the beginning (of the full-scale invasion), the deaths of 3,079 officers have been confirmed. 800 of them held the rank of major or higher," the report says. "At the same time, the loss of junior officers has the strongest impact on the combat readiness of units. As of today, we know about the deaths of 2,278 servicemen with the rank of lieutenant to captain."

Journalists, along with volunteers, have identified the identities and confirmed the deaths of at least 43,014 Russian soldiers. The statistics include only those deaths that have been confirmed. Also, the deaths of militants from the Donetsk and Luhansk regions are not included.

"We assume that our list may contain at least half the number of deceased names buried in Russia. We reached this conclusion by systematically studying the situation in cemeteries in 70 Russian settlements. According to the most cautious estimate, Russia could have lost 86,000 people by the end of September," the report says.

Losses of the Russian army

In September 2023, journalists from the Russian service of the BBC and "Mediazona" investigated that since the beginning of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine, at least 33,236 Russian troops have died, including 3,836 mobilized personnel.

The research of Russian media is based on obituaries in the media, messages on social networks from relatives of the deceased, and local authorities' reports.

According to these data, since the beginning of the Ukrainian counteroffensive in July 2023, at least 2,448 Russian military personnel have died, including 234 officers, including two generals and 11 colonels.

Senior officers of the Russian army have not suffered such significant losses since the first months of the invasion of Ukraine, investigators note.

At the same time, every third person killed during the counteroffensive of the Armed Forces of Ukraine was a mobilized soldier (681 out of 2,448 confirmed deaths). Since February 2022, 3,863 mobilized personnel have died in the war in Ukraine. Every fifth of them survived on the front lines for less than two months, and 60% died during the period from January 1, 2023.

The largest losses are among Russian prisoners recruited for the war in Ukraine. Journalists managed to identify the names of 6,215 convicts who died on the front lines as of September 29, 2023.

Moreover, more than 100 of them were citizens of foreign countries, most often Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan.

As of September 29, the authorities and media of the Krasnodar Territory named the maximum number of dead soldiers from the region as 1,259.

During the Ukrainian counteroffensive, Russian paratroopers lost at least 209 fighters, the Ministry of Defense's special forces units lost 23 people, and the Marine Corps units lost 60 individuals.

Separately, journalists, using the same method, investigated data on the deaths of servicemen from the self-proclaimed LPR and DPR. By studying published obituaries and messages about the search for so-called LPR/DPR fighters who have not been in touch for a long time, journalists concluded that by the end of September, up to 20,000 soldiers from the self-proclaimed "republics" of Donbas could have died.

Since December 22, 2022, the "DPR" has stopped publishing data on its military losses (the "LPR" did not publish information about its losses at all).

Journalists note that the figures provided only account for those cases where the death has been publicly confirmed and when the status of the person who fought can be determined.

The actual losses among mobilized personnel may be much higher since many reports of soldiers killed in Ukraine from October 2022 do not indicate their status. It is sometimes impossible to determine whether the person served as a contract soldier, volunteer, or mobilized personnel.

The Russian Ministry of Defense last reported the number of losses on September 21, 2022, stating that 5,937 people had died. After that, the military department reported deaths three more times, confirming the loss of another 162 individuals.

In June of this year, it became known that the Ministry of Defense had approached the authorities of several regions with a request not to publish obituaries for deceased soldiers. Such requests are known to have been made to representatives of Buryatia, Tuva, and Khakassia — regions with particularly high losses.

As reported, Russian convicts who went to fight against Ukraine, instead of pardon from Russian dictator Vladimir Putin, now only receive conditional release, and they are to serve until the end of the war.

According to the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the total losses of Russian troops since the beginning of the full-scale invasion in personnel amount to over 380,000 soldiers.

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