January 28, 2023


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Ukraine says 100,000 Russian soldiers have been killed – experts believe the number can be divided in half

It is difficult to say exactly how many people died in the Ukraine war. This applies to the number of civilians killed – and the number of soldiers lost both countries.

US Defense Chief Mike Miley estimated in November that there were 100,000 dead and wounded on each side. It is the highest figure given by a Western official.

On New Year’s Day at the latest, many Russian soldiers were killed in an attack in Makevka. According to Russia, 89 people were killed, while Ukraine claims up to 400 killed and 300 wounded.

Given the margins of error and the propaganda value as a source of error, the Ukrainian figures for Russian losses are perhaps the least realistic. But the American and British intelligence are able to divide the Ukrainian numbers by two, says Lieutenant Colonel Pale Idestpo from the Staff School of the NTB.

Here you can read all about the war in Ukraine

– Russia has weakened

On January 2, the Ukrainian Defense Ministry published an overview of what it claims are Russian losses so far in the war. Ukraine says 107,440 Russian servicemen have been killed and a large number of Russian military ships destroyed.

Russia rarely comments on the number of casualties. BBC and opposition media Medusa He painstakingly compiled an overview of no less than 10,000 Russian soldiers killed.

Although the claims from Ukraine have to be taken into account — and perhaps split in two — Desstepo says Russia knows the toll.

– I consider the Russian fighting power to be weaker than when I invaded in February, and that is because they have lost their best officers and soldiers. There, quality is just as important as quantity, and they’ve been missing out on a lot of good stuff, says Ydstebø.

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– Many of the replacement crews, especially those mobilized in the fall, often have poor equipment and little military education and training, as well as the fact that they are not trained together in larger divisions. They also lack a lot of leaders, plus they generally lack motivation. I think they can only be used fairly effectively on defense, says the defense expert.

– in favor of Ukraine

Ydstebø says that the balance of power within Ukraine is currently in Ukraine’s favour.

– The question is whether the Russians will be able to compensate for this through education, training and the creation of new good units at the brigade level (3,500-5,000 troops) or larger, he says.

Ydstebø notes that it is demanding and takes at least half a year to reach minimum standards.

– And as long as the quality of the Ukrainian brigades approached at least. Russia is also not expected to be able to create so many divisions that it can bet that the size can outpace the quality of the Ukrainian divisions, he says.

It is also very difficult to obtain an overview of the number of civilians killed. Russia attacked civilian targets several times in what appeared to be targeted attacks. But the Ukrainian attacks, especially in the east of the country, have also affected the civilian population.

Killed thousands of civilians

The United Nations launched an investigation to get an overview of civilian casualties. At the end of December, they said, at least 17,831 civilians had been killed or wounded. Of these, 6,884 were killed and 10,947 injured. Among the dead were 429 children. The United Nations itself maintains that the real number is probably much higher. The United Nations only takes in those who can be 100 percent confirmed to be victims.

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– UN estimates of civilian casualties appear conservative, as they appear to need positive confirmation. Idestipo says it’s very urgent in a war zone, especially in Russian-occupied areas.

The US Secretary of Defense estimated in November that 40,000 civilians had been killed. Ukrainian estimates are much higher again.

Like Russia, Ukraine rarely provides figures for soldiers killed in its ranks. Presidential advisor Mykhailo Podolyak said at the beginning of December that up to 13,000 Ukrainian soldiers had been killed. However, the European Union and the United States estimate that these numbers are also higher.