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‘Extraordinary’ Casualty Rates Are Faced By Russian Troops In Ukraine: U.K. Intelligence

Story Highlights
  • According to the Institute for the Study of War, new Russian soldiers only receive three to seven days of training before being deployed to "the most active regions of the front."
  • The organisation has previously emphasised that while providing significant financial incentives for recruits

British intelligence says that Russian and pro-Russian forces are suffering unacceptably high rates of casualties in Ukraine, which raises fresh concerns about how effectively Moscow can continue its current tempo of operations despite the battlefield’s minimal gains.

According to statistics released last week by the Donetsk People’s Republic, a self-declared pro-Putin autonomous area in eastern Ukraine known as the Donbas, more than 2,100 of its men had died and almost 9,000 had been injured since operations began.

According to the U.K. Ministry of Defense, the casualty rate is almost 55% of its entire force, “which underscores the enormous attrition rate Russian and pro-Russian forces are experiencing in the Donbas.”

Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began on February 24 and immediately ran into fierce resistance from local forces supported by Western weapons and financial resources, the losses of soldiers and material have increased dramatically.

The exact number of Russian fatalities is a closely-kept secret. Moscow reported 1,351 fatalities in March, but there was grounds to think the actual number was much higher. More people have died in this conflict than in the Soviet Union’s nine-year war in Afghanistan, according to a British estimate from April. Up to 40,000 people have also been injured, according to some estimates.

The extent to which Russia can continue fighting and the pressure that pro-Kyiv forces can exert on invading forces to accelerate those shortcomings are two of the most important questions facing the government in Ukraine and its Western backers as Moscow and Russian President Vladimir Putin face growing dissension and diminishing resources.

According to the Institute for the Study of War, new Russian soldiers only receive three to seven days of training before being deployed to “the most active regions of the front.”

The BBC also reported that volunteers within the Russian military, along with the country’s mercenary troops and equivalents of national guard groups, have replaced regular military units as Russia’s primary attack force.

The organisation has previously emphasised that while providing significant financial incentives for recruits, the Russian military is decreasing its criteria for factors including age, health, criminal records, and other basic requirements for service. The BBC also stated that in order to attract recruits, the Russian Ministry of Defense is currently providing to pay off volunteers’ loans and debts.

The British Defense Ministry stated that “on both sides, the capacity to develop and deploy reserve units to the front is likely becoming increasingly essential to the outcome of the war.”

Similar bleak numbers have been reported for Ukraine. The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, U.S. Army Gen. Mark Milley, stated last week that estimates by the public of up to 100 combat fatalities per day and up to 300 combat injuries per day concur with the Pentagon’s assessment of the level of carnage on the battlefield.

There is an existential danger here. The veteran leader of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan remarked, “They are fighting for the very existence of their country. Therefore, the goal to be achieved directly relates to your capacity for suffering and casualties.

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