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Russia has now lost 400,000 troops in Ukraine: Grim milestone for Putin as Kyiv reveals landmark number of deaths… as Moscow continues to send thousands more to war


Russia has lost more than 400,000 soldiers to death or injury in its continuing war against Ukraine, according to Kyiv‘s approximations.

The figure, released by Ukraine’s Ministry of Defence in its daily update this morning, suggests a staggering number of Russian casualties in the two years since Vladimir Putin launched the invasion on February 24, 2022.

By comparison, around 15,000 Soviet troops were killed and 53,000 injured in Afghanistan during the Soviet-Afghan war, which lasted from nine years – from 1979 to 1989. This therefore suggests that Russian casualties in Ukraine are around six times greater than those suffered by the Soviets in less than a quarter of the time.

The figure also represents the Ukrainian army’s fierce defence on its homeland against an invading force that many expected would sweep to a swift victory.

Instead, Ukraine’s forces were able to repel Moscow‘s armies from the gates of Kyiv and push them back east, where the war is now in a stalemate and being fought along hundreds of miles of frontlines fortified by trenches and minefields.

Russia has lost more than 400,000 soldiers to death or injury in its continuing war against Ukraine, according to Kyiv 's approximations. Pictured: The corpse of a Russian soldier is seeing lying on the streets of Kharkiv on February 27, 2022 - days after Putin's invasion began

Russia has lost more than 400,000 soldiers to death or injury in its continuing war against Ukraine, according to Kyiv ‘s approximations. Pictured: The corpse of a Russian soldier is seeing lying on the streets of Kharkiv on February 27, 2022 – days after Putin’s invasion began

Pictured: Ukraine's Ministry of Defence released this update this morning that estimates Russian personnel losses have now ticked over 400,000

Pictured: Ukraine’s Ministry of Defence released this update this morning that estimates Russian personnel losses have now ticked over 400,000

If Ukraine’s estimate is correct, it also means that the number of Russian casualties is more than twice that of Putin’s initial invading force of around 190,000 soldiers.

Ukraine’s Minister of Defence also reported that between February 24 2022 and February 16 2024, Russia has lost approximately 6,465 tanks, 12,129 armoured combat vehicles, 9,641 artillery units, and 984 multiple launch rocket systems.

The update also estimates Russia has lost 671 air defence systems, 332 warplanes, 325 helicopters, 7,408 drones, 1,895 cruise missiles, 25 warships, 1 submarine, 12,716 motor vehicles and fuel tankers, and 1,528 units of special equipment.

While MailOnline and other outlets are unable to verify Ukraine’s figures, heavy Russian losses have been well documented.

Even a US estimate declassified in December 2023 put Russian casualties at around 315,000 after 22 months of war. 

What’s more, according to the Oryx military blog, which has been tracking Russian losses since the war broke out, Russia has seen more than 14,000 vehicles destroyed, damaged, abandoned or captured.

While this figure is lower than Ukraine’s overall estimate, the blog bases its numbers on visual confirmations. In other words, every loss is confirmed by a photo or video from the battlefield confirming the loss of a piece of Russian military hardware.

This, therefore, can be viewed as a minimum figure.

Military analysts have put Russian losses down to a number of factors, including the tactics used by Russian commanders.

A number of key battles have seen Moscow’s commanders use ‘human wave’ tactics, in which Russian soldiers are sent forward in vast numbers to crash against Ukrainian defences in an effort to establish weak points.

The figure, released by the Ukraine's Ministry of Defence in its daily update this morning, suggests Vladimir Putin 's forces have suffered stunning losses in the two years since he ordered the invasion on February 24, 2022

The figure, released by the Ukraine’s Ministry of Defence in its daily update this morning, suggests Vladimir Putin ‘s forces have suffered stunning losses in the two years since he ordered the invasion on February 24, 2022

Ukraine's Minister of Defence also reported that between February 24 2022 and February 16 2024, Russia has lost approximately 6,465 tanks, 12,129 armoured combat vehicles, 9,641 artillery units, and 984 multiple launch rocket systems

Ukraine’s Minister of Defence also reported that between February 24 2022 and February 16 2024, Russia has lost approximately 6,465 tanks, 12,129 armoured combat vehicles, 9,641 artillery units, and 984 multiple launch rocket systems

The Battle of Bakhmut, for example, was likened to a ‘First World War meat grinder’ in which wave after wave of Russian soldiers were gunned down.

While Russia did eventually succeed in seizing the city – suffering staggering losses in the process – analysts questioned the tactical importance of Bakhmut.

Similar scenes have been described in Russia’s assault on Avdiivka, another industrial city in the Ukraine’s Donetsk Oblast.

Despite Russia’s intense effort to capture the city at the expense of thousands of its soldiers, Ukraine continues to hold out, although Kyiv, too, has suffered heavy losses.

Questions have also been raised about the quality of Russia’s forces and equipment.

Particularly in the early stages of the war, Russia deployed large Brigades and used tactics that were likened to those used by the Soviets in a bygone era.

Lumbering Russian columns of armoured vehicles were picked off by Ukraine’s more mobile units armed with western anti-tank launchers and drones.

Much of the equipment Russia has been using is also Soviet in origin.

And there is evidence of Russia’s most elite spetsnaz units being sent into direct combat – rather than carrying out the clandestine, secretive special missions they were trained for – resulting in a decimation of their ranks.

Ukraine, meanwhile, employed more modern tactics imparted on Kyiv’s military by the West, allowing its smaller units to be more mobile.

Kyiv deployed more modern equipment and pioneered the use of small drones to both scout out Russian positions and drop small explosives on enemy soldiers and vehicles – something Putin’s forces struggled to defence against.

It is believed that Russia in some sectors has since caught up with such tactics, and are now also using drones to target Ukrainian trenches and vehicles.

A Ukrainian tank fires in the direction of Bakhmut, where clashes between Russia and Ukraine continue to take place, in Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine February 11

A Ukrainian tank fires in the direction of Bakhmut, where clashes between Russia and Ukraine continue to take place, in Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine February 11

Smoke rises near the Avdiivka Coke and Chemical Plant in the town of Avdiivka, as seen from Yasynuvata in the Donetsk region, Russian-controlled Ukraine, February 15

Smoke rises near the Avdiivka Coke and Chemical Plant in the town of Avdiivka, as seen from Yasynuvata in the Donetsk region, Russian-controlled Ukraine, February 15

However, if Ukraine’s estimates are correct, then Russia continues to suffer heavy losses without making significant territorial gains.

While the Kremlin has never acknowledged the true scale of its losses, Putin has been forced to take drastic measures to recruit new soldiers to his war.

In September 2022, after Ukraine’s sweeping counteroffensive liberated vast swathes of Russian-held territory in the north, Russia declared a partial mobilisation of its military reserves – calling up 300,000 more troops.

There have been talks of a second mobilisation push for months now, and although this has yet to materialise, it was reported this week that the Kremlin is preparing legislation that would raise the maximum military age by around 20 years.

‘Russia is proposing a draft legislation to raise the age of military contract personnel, including those that were recruited before June 2023, to age 65 and age 70 for officers,’ a statement released by Britain’s Ministry of Defence said on Tuesday.

‘This would substantially raise the current age limit of 51 for non officers and would likely extend the contract length,’ it added.

Ukraine, meanwhile, has never disclosed its own losses. After two years, they are also believed to be in the tens of thousands, if not higher.

Kyiv is understood to also be looking for ways to grow its forces as it struggles to hold out against Putin’s armies in the east.

While Ukraine has so far clocked far more victories against Russia, Putin’s forces still control around a fifth of the country.

What’s more, Moscow is believed to have secured significant supplies of munitions from its allies in Iran and North Korea and has shifted its economy onto a war footing.

Ukrainian service members check a destroyed Russian a BMP-2 infantry fighting vehicle, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, near the front line in the newly liberated village Storozheve in Donetsk region, Ukraine June 14, 2023

Ukrainian service members check a destroyed Russian a BMP-2 infantry fighting vehicle, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, near the front line in the newly liberated village Storozheve in Donetsk region, Ukraine June 14, 2023

The body of a Russian soldier is seen lying in a field in the liberated village Storozheve in Donetsk region, Ukraine, June 14

The body of a Russian soldier is seen lying in a field in the liberated village Storozheve in Donetsk region, Ukraine, June 14

Kyiv’s stockpiles, meanwhile, are running low.

The EU recently agreed a €50 billion aid package for Ukraine, and a further $60 billion aid package is currently being held up in the United States.

But even if the aid packages did make their way to Kyiv, questions remain over its supplies of ammo and equipment – and where more could come from.

Analysts fear that without increased support from the West, Russia’s overwhelming numbers – and Putin’s willingness to send so many of his soldiers to their deaths – could soon change the tide of the war in Putin’s favour.



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