War in Ukraine: Russia loses more than 800 soldiers every day, says Ukrainian General Staff

Russia’s recent successes in eastern Ukraine are costly to Russian forces. This number is at the highest level since the beginning of the war, but is difficult to verify.

By Mayeul Aldebert

Published 2/13/2023 at 1:36 PM, updated 2/13/2023 at 1:52 PM

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A Ukrainian soldier fires a mortar shell at the front line near the town of Vougledar. MARKO DJURICA / Portal

Since the beginning of January, Russian forces have been pushing into eastern Ukraine and eating away at ground without breaching Ukrainian defenses. However, Russia boasts of its “success,” and the Wagner militia have claimed the capture of several locations around Bakhmout, which they are tirelessly trying to encircle.

According to the Ukrainian General Staff, which has found itself in serious trouble over the past few weeks in the face of numerous attacks, Russia’s efforts in relation to the fighters are very costly. According to Kiev, the Russian army would lose more than 800 soldiers in fighting every day, a number at the highest level since the beginning of the war.

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This impressive number is reported by the British Ministry of Defense in its daily analysis of the conflict. And if it’s very difficult to verify, the trend, on the other hand, is “probably accurate,” the ministry notes. “The rise in the number of Russian casualties is likely due to several factors, including a lack of trained personnel, coordination and resources on the front lines.”

Military casualties in wars are always accurately known long afterward. “And we must always be wary of the figures put forward by any party in the camp,” notes military historian Cédric Mas, who recalls that this Ukrainian statement also intervenes in a “complicated” moment for Kiev, as recently recognized Volodymyr Zelenskyy. “But there is some evidence confirming a trend, such as the casualty rate of senior Russian officers being much higher in January and February.”

Continued attacks by Russian forces

The Russian army is increasing pressure to gain an advantage before the spring thaw, which could complicate logistics, but also before the arrival of western tanks. “And these attacks, like the Joffre offensive of 1915, are inevitably very costly in human life: there are attacks in continuous waves by small groups of infantrymen, paving the way for armored vehicles,” adds Cédric Mas. For example, earlier this month Russian forces attempted to take the village of Vougledar, suffering heavy casualties in fierce fighting. And as long as the Ukrainians hold out in a balance of power that now appears to be in Russia’s favour, the aggressor will consume many lives.

In this war of attrition, however, no side is spared. And the Ukrainians are also suffering heavy casualties. At the end of January, the Federal Intelligence Service (BNB) spoke of daily losses “in the three-digit range” in the Bakhmout sector alone. At the same time, the BNB, quoted by the German media Der Spiegel, reported that the Russian army acted with “ruthless severity and threw its soldiers like cannon fodder”.

“The engagement of significant elements of at least three major Russian divisions in offensive operations in the Luhansk sector shows that the Russian offensive has begun,” the ISW assured late last week. The institute also confirms the Ukrainian resistance, which prevents the invader from making “significant gains” and inflicts heavy losses on Russia.

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” ALSO READ – “In Bakhmout it is a massacre”: a doctor returning from Ukraine testifies

According to the Ukrainian government, which communicates very little about losses in its own army, as of February 12, almost a year after the start of the Russian invasion, Russia had lost more than 137,780 soldiers. If one counts the dead and wounded, the US secret service puts Russian losses on its side at 188,000 soldiers according to a current estimate from the end of January. In November, however, the American Chief of Staff estimated that the two camps had similar losses, namely more than 100,000 combatants killed or wounded, for both the Russians and the Ukrainians.