Putin releases captured figures

Update on the number of captured: “At a meeting in St. Petersburg on Wednesday, Putin told the heads of several international news agencies that there are 1,348 Russian troops and officers in captivity in Ukraine compared to the 6,465 Ukrainians in Russian detention.” See: Putin makes rare claim on Ukraine war casualties (msn.com)

Now, I find these figures to be entirely believable. The Russian Defense Ministry claimed as of 30 June 2022 to be holding 6,000 Ukrainians soldiers in captivity. This was partly confirmed in July 2022 when the Ukrainian missing person commissioner stated on TV that more than 7,000 people were missing, including soldiers, National Guardsmen, border guards and intelligence officers. Ukrainian President Zelenskyy stated on 19 September that the Russians held more prisoners than Ukraine did (see: The Battle for Kyiv, page 185). There were maybe 2,439 that surrendered at Mariupol in late May 2022. There have been other people captured in the two years since then. The prisoner exchanges have traded at least 2,800 Russians soldiers and civilians for 3,001 Ukrainians soldiers and 145 civilians. Plus there were some Ukrainians who died while captivity. Anyhow, it all seems to add up, although it could be on the high side, and the figure of 6,465 probably includes some civilians.

On the other hand, his assertion that he has lost in combat only one Russian for five Ukrainians is absurd. It is as absurd as some of the bizarrely lopsided casualties claims that Ukraine is exchanging casualties at a 3-to-1 to 5-to-1 ratio in their favor. 

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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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