Journalists from the Russian service of the BBC and Mediazona have discovered that since the beginning of the full-scale invasion of the war in Ukraine, at least 33,236 Russian soldiers have died, of which 3836 have been mobilized.
Source: investigation by the BBC and Mediazona; Radio Liberty
Details: The study carried out by the Russian media is based on obituaries in the media, reports on social networks from relatives of the victims and local authorities, etc.
Since the start of the Ukrainian counteroffensive in July 2023, at least 2,448 Russian soldiers have been killed, including 234 officers, of which there were two generals and 11 colonels.
The investigators note that the last time senior officers of the Russian army suffered such significant losses was in the first months of the invasion of Ukraine.
At the same time, every third person who died while repelling the counterattack of the Armed Forces of Ukraine was mobilised (681 out of 2,448 established dead). In total, since February 2022, 3,863 mobilised soldiers have died in the war in Ukraine. One in five of them survived at the front for less than two months, and 60% died in the timeframe from 1 January 2023.
The greatest losses are among the Russian convicts recruited for the war in Ukraine. Journalists were able to establish the names of 6,215 convicts who died at the front as of 29 September 2023. Over 100 of them were citizens of foreign countries, most often Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan.
The journalists note that as of 29 September, the highest number of dead soldiers was recorded in the Russian region of Krasnodar Krai, reaching 1,259.
Elite units of the Russian army are also involved in repelling the counterattack of Ukraine’s forces: Airborne Forces, Marines, and Special Forces. But now, in contrast, they are used for short operations and are deployed on the most important sectors of the front, trying to protect the personnel.
During the Ukrainian counteroffensive, Russian paratroopers lost at least 209 soldiers, the special forces of the Ministry of Defence suffered casualties totalling 23 people, while the Marine Corps reportedly lost 60 people.
Infographics: investigation of the Russian service of the BBC and Mediazona
Separately, using the same method, the journalists examined data on dead servicemen from the self-proclaimed Luhansk and Donetsk People’s Republics. After examining the published obituaries and reports of the search for the so-called “nationals” from Luhansk and Donetsk People’s Republics who have not been in touch for a long time, the journalists came to the conclusion that by the end of September, up to 20,000 soldiers of the self-proclaimed “republics” of Donbas could have been killed in action.
On 22 December 2022, the Donetsk People’s Republic stopped publishing data on the losses of its military personnel (the Luhansk People’s Republic did not publish information about its losses to begin with).
Journalists note that these figures take into account only those cases when the death is publicly confirmed and when the status of the one who fought can be established.
The real casualties among those mobilised could be much higher, since many reports of soldiers who have died in Ukraine since October 2022 do not indicate their status. Because of this, it is sometimes impossible to understand whether a person served as a contractor, volunteer or was mobilised.
21 September was the last time the Russian Defence Ministry revealed the total number of losses suffered during the war, reporting 5,937 deaths. After that, the military department reported the number of dead three more times, confirming the loss of another 162 people.
In June of this year, it was revealed that the Ministry of Defence appealed to the authorities of a number of regions with a request not to publish obituaries to the dead soldiers. It is known that such requests were directed at representatives of Buryatia, Tuva and Khakassia regions, whose populations suffered especially great losses.
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