Losses during the Russo-Ukrainian War of 2022

This is a discussion cut from my daily posting on the Russo-Ukrainian War.

Casualties: Ukraine admitted on 29 April that they have suffered “serious losses” in battles. We take that claim at face value. They also claim that Russian losses are “colossal.” That claim has not been confirmed.

The UN is reporting on 3 May at least 3,193 civilians confirmed dead in the war, 101 are in territory controlled by Russian separatists. On 2 May it was stated that 1,638 of the deaths are in the regions of Donetsk and Luhansk. Ukraine is claiming more than 10,000 civilians killed in Mariupol alone. Zelensky (President of Ukraine) is reporting on 12 March that around 1,300 Ukrainian soldiers have been killed. Russia claimed by 2 March to have captured 572 soldiers (which is entirely believable). U.S. officials are saying (March 9) that between 2,000 to 4,000 Ukrainian troops have been killed. Zelensky told CNN on 15 April that Ukrainian Army had lost between 2,500-3,000 troops since the fighting has begun and about 10,000 have been wounded (wounded-to-killed ratio of 4.00- or 3.33-to-1). This is the first update on Ukrainian Army losses since 12 March.

Russia reported on 2 March 498 troops have been killed and 1,597 wounded. This is a 3.21-to-1 wounded-to-killed ratio, which seems a little low (see link below). Ukraine is reporting almost 200 Russians captured. The Russian Army stated on March 25 that 1,351 soldiers have been killed and 3,825 wounded. This is a 2.83-to-1 wounded-to-killed ratio, which is still pretty low, but at least is more believable than some other estimates. The Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) is reporting as of 28 April that they had 1,523 soldiers killed and 6,167 wounded (4.05-to-1 wounded-to-killed ratio). Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR) is reported as of 5 April to have had 500-600 killed. BBC Russian Service as of 5 April has counted 1,083 confirmed killed, of which 217 are officers. This includes 10 colonels, 20 lieutenant colonels and 31 majors. This is certainly an undercount. 

The Kremlin spokesperson Peskov is now saying “We have significant losses of troops. It’s a huge tragedy for us.” Not sure how to convert “significant losses” into a numerical value. There is a recent report (26 April, Moscow Times) of 1,744 Russians killed tallied from the website Mediazona, I assume based upon Russia media reports. It includes 317 officers, including two major generals and the deputy commander of the Black Sea Fleet. By its nature this is an incomplete account and the real count has to be higher. The BBC Russian Service, which maintains a similar count, is reporting 1,899 killed as of 29 April.

The Ukrainians are as of 20 March to hold 562 Russian soldiers as prisoners, with 10 previously released in prisoner exchanged for 5 Ukrainian soldiers and the Mayor of Melitopol. Subsequent exchanges have released 96 Russian soldiers and 11 Russian civilians, in exchange for 96 Ukrainian soldiers and 19 Ukrainian civilian sailors. Prisoner exchanges from 9, 14, 19 and 21 April released 104 Ukrainian soldiers and officers and 47 civilians. The number of Russians released in these exchanges has not been provided, but the exchanges are probably one-for-one. The prisoner exchange on 15 April released 5 Ukrainian soldiers for four Russian soldiers. Total released is now 210 Ukrainian soldiers and 67 civilians.

U.S. officials are claiming figures between 3,000 to 10,000 Russian soldiers killed (March 18). In the past they have claimed 3,000 captured. NATO is claiming 7,000 to 15,000 killed (March 23). There was a report briefly released last month of 9,861 Russians killed and 16,153 wounded (1.64-to-1 wounded-to-killed ratio). I seriously question that report (see my posts on the subject of 22 and 24 March).

A post was made 21 April to a Russian news site that reported “irretrievable losses” in Ukraine were 13,414 soldiers, of which more than 7,000 were missing. As “irretrievable losses” means killed, possibly died of wounds (DOW) and missing, this would imply that Russian killed is 6,414 or less. It was quickly deleted, and the news site claimed it was hacked. Some media has reported the post as over 13,000 killed and over 7,000 missing, but “irretrievable losses” usually includes missing. The post also stated that the cruiser Moskva had 116 killed and more than 100 missing. A Russian news agency (RIA) quoting the Russian defense ministry today said that 1 person was killed and 27 were missing. The claim of 7,000 Russian soldiers missing is hard to match with Ukrainian reports of hundreds captured. During our capture rate studies (see: http://www.dupuyinstitute.org/tdipub3.htm) it appeared that during the German offensive in July 1943 to the south of Kursk, that around 75% of the Russians reported missing were captured by the Germans. I am assuming that if Russia has 7,000 missing, then Ukraine has thousands of prisoners. That does not appear to be the case. 

A total of eight named Russian generals have been reported as killed. The reported death of Lt. Gen. Yakov Rezanstev of the 49th Combined Arms Army (age 49) on 25 March but this has still not been confirmed over a month after the claimed event. The Ukrainians claimed two more Russian generals killed this last week, but no names were provided, and this has not been confirmed. Another general was claimed killed on 29 April, Major General Andrei Simonov (age 55), by an artillery strike on the command post of the Russian 2nd Army. This has also not been confirmed, but as he is listed by name, I did add him to the body count. The head of the Russian armed forces, Valery Gerasimov (age 66), was apparently missed in a strike on a headquarters on 1 May near Izium. None of this has been confirmed. Ukrainian “sources” estimate that around 20 major generals have been deployed to the Ukrainian front. 

During World War II the United States lost 11 generals killed in action. Germany lost 135 and had 84 executed. See: A List of American Commanders in WWII Who Lost Their Lives (warfarehistorynetwork.com). The U.S. lost six generals killed in action in Vietnam:  Last US general killed in combat was in Vietnam in 1970

One American, a 22-year-old by the name of Willy Joseph Cancel, has been reported killed on 25 April fighting for Ukraine. A former U.S. Marine, he was working for a “private military contracting company” and was being paid. He flew to Poland on 12 March and crossed over to Ukraine on 13 March. Two Americans, Manus McCaffrey and Paul Gray, were reported wounded by artillery fire a couple of days ago while fighting for Ukraine in Orikhiv, SE of Zaporizhzhia. The UK has also confirmed that one of their citizens were killed in Ukraine this week and another is missing. Two British soldiers have been captured in Mariupol, Shau Pinner, 48 and Aiden Aslin, 28. Might be a good time to re-read Hemingway’s For Whom the Bell Tolls.

One U.S. civilian have also been killed during the war: James Whitney Hill on March 17 in Chernigov by artillery.

Russian Equipment Losses: @oryxspioenko is reporting the following Russian losses based upon his analysis of pictures and videos. Russian equipment losses are here: https://www.oryxspioenkop.com/2022/02/attack-on-europe-documenting-equipment.html

                   0900, 30 March     0800, 13 April    0900, 21 April

Tanks:            336                         485                    517 

AFVs:             239                         258                    312                    

IFVs:               320                         516                    556

APCs:               79                           95                      99

Jet aircraft:      15                           18                      21

Helicopters:     32                           30                      33

 

The Ukranian Ministry of Defense is claiming as of 29 March they have destroyed 597 tanks, 1,710 armored personnel vehicles, 127 aircraft and 129 helicopters. They also claim 17,200 Russian soldiers killed. They claimed as of 13 April they have destroyed 739 tanks, 1,964 armored personnel vehicles, 158 aircraft and 143 helicopters. They also claim 19,800 Russian soldiers killed. These figures look to be inflated, especially the aircraft and helicopter claims. We assume personnel claims are also inflated.

 

Ukrainian Equipment Losses: @oryxspioenko now has a separate listing for Ukrainian losses based upon his analysis of pictures and videos. It is here: https://www.oryxspioenkop.com/2022/02/attack-on-europe-documenting-ukrainian.html?msclkid=a374718dc17511ecb7fe354e35b82b28

                 0900, 30 March       0800, 13 April     0900. 21 April

Tanks:           79                               107                    130

AFVs:            62                                 73                      79

IFVs:              60                                 82                      88

APCs:            29                                 39                      51

Jet aircraft:   10                                 13                      14

Helicopters:    1                                   3                        5

 

Have no idea how accurate this count really is (the Ukrainian losses seem low), but I figure it is probably the best count publicly available.

It is clear that more than 12,000 people have died in this conflict (1,351 (Russian Army) + at least 2,000 more (Russian Army) + 3,000 (Ukrainian Army) + 3,193 (Civilians) + 1,523 (DPR) + 600 (LPR) = 11,667). It is probably in excess of 15,000 total deaths depending on Russian military deaths and the real count of civilian losses. The number of deaths of Mariupol are unverified and unknown.

If Ukrainian military deaths are between 2,500 and 3,000, then I assume Russian military deaths are at least as many. Ukraine is claiming as of 19 April that 20,800 Russian and DPR soldiers have been killed, Russians are claiming as of 16 April that 23,367 Ukrainian soldiers have been killed. Are both sets of figures similarly inflated?

The Russian claims are also very nebulous with lots of people hanging onto a figure of 10,000 or 15,000 or 20,000 killed. There are reasons to doubt these high claims. It is clear the Russian military deaths are 3,000 killed or higher. 

Both sides have claimed a similar number of troops captured (572 Ukrainians captured by 2 March vs 572 Russians captured by 20 March).

There are people doing a more detailed job of tracking losses on Twitter, including @RALee85 and @Oryxspioenkop and @caucasuswar, none of whom are known to me. One of them appears to have accepted the claims of at least 10,000 Russian soldiers killed. 

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Christopher A. Lawrence
Christopher A. Lawrence

Christopher A. Lawrence is a professional historian and military analyst. He is the Executive Director and President of The Dupuy Institute, an organization dedicated to scholarly research and objective analysis of historical data related to armed conflict and the resolution of armed conflict. The Dupuy Institute provides independent, historically-based analyses of lessons learned from modern military experience.
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Mr. Lawrence was the program manager for the Ardennes Campaign Simulation Data Base, the Kursk Data Base, the Modern Insurgency Spread Sheets and for a number of other smaller combat data bases. He has participated in casualty estimation studies (including estimates for Bosnia and Iraq) and studies of air campaign modeling, enemy prisoner of war capture rates, medium weight armor, urban warfare, situational awareness, counterinsurgency and other subjects for the U.S. Army, the Defense Department, the Joint Staff and the U.S. Air Force. He has also directed a number of studies related to the military impact of banning antipersonnel mines for the Joint Staff, Los Alamos National Laboratories and the Vietnam Veterans of American Foundation.
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His published works include papers and monographs for the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment and the Vietnam Veterans of American Foundation, in addition to over 40 articles written for limited-distribution newsletters and over 60 analytical reports prepared for the Defense Department. He is the author of Kursk: The Battle of Prokhorovka (Aberdeen Books, Sheridan, CO., 2015), America’s Modern Wars: Understanding Iraq, Afghanistan and Vietnam (Casemate Publishers, Philadelphia & Oxford, 2015), War by Numbers: Understanding Conventional Combat (Potomac Books, Lincoln, NE., 2017) , The Battle of Prokhorovka (Stackpole Books, Guilford, CT., 2019), The Battle for Kyiv (Frontline Books, Yorkshire, UK, 2023), Aces at Kursk (Air World, Yorkshire, UK, 2024), Hunting Falcon: The Story of WWI German Ace Hans-Joachim Buddecke (Air World, Yorkshire, UK, 2024) and The Siege of Mariupol (Frontline Books, Yorkshire, UK, 2024).
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Mr. Lawrence lives in northern Virginia, near Washington, D.C., with his wife and son.

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