A Wagner mercenary fighting in Ukraine had only a 1-in-5 chance of making it through unscathed, according to the latest figures.

The unverified numbers, posted on Telegram by several Wagner-affiliated channels, claim that in all operations from the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion up until the “capture of Bakhmut” on May 20:

·      Wagner had 78,000 thousand fighters in total.

·      49,000 of these were convicts.

·      22,000 were killed.

·      40,000 wounded

This leave just 16,000 that made it through the fighting without being killed or injured.

The figures appear to have been released in response to Russian Ministry of Defense claims that 33,000 Wagner fighters had signed contracts with the Kremlin in the wake of the aborted coup attempt by the group’s chief, Yevgeny Prigozhin.


The message – it’s unclear if they are Prighozin’s words or those of someone else – says: “I cannot say where the 33,000 people who went to the Ministry of Defense came from. Here’s the real math.

"In total, 78 thousand fighters of the PMC Wagner passed through the Ukrainian business trip.

"Of these, 49 thousand are prisoners from the camps. At the time of the capture of Bakhmut (May 20), 22 thousand soldiers were killed, 40 thousand were wounded.”

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It adds that currently there are 25,000 Wagner fighters who are “alive and healthy” plus those wounded who are still receiving treatment.

“Of these, up to 10 thousand have left and are leaving for Belarus,” it adds. “15,000 have already gone on vacation.

“How the 33 thousand who went to the military were formed is still unknown to me. If all those killed and those who went on vacation signed contracts, then this is possible. You can't argue here.”

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Accurate figures for the numbers of dead and wounded for both the Russian and Ukrainian sides are difficult to come by.

Kyiv does not release official figures for Ukrainian losses and Moscow’s official number of 5,937 has not been updated since September and was almost certainly a vast underestimate even at the time.

Prigozhin has been more forthcoming with discussing Wagner fighter casualties, saying in May that 20,000 of his fighters had been killed in the battle for Bakhmut.

An intercepted phone call between a Russian soldier and his wife published last month has shed some light on the huge losses suffered by the Wagner mercenary group.

In the call, the soldier says: “My acquaintance, who is now at Wagner, he’s a driver, and he makes more than 15 trips a day – [in] a KAMAZ truck completely filled with corpses.”

In December Mykhailo Podolyak, a senior adviser to President Volodymyr Zelensky, said official estimates of the number of Ukrainian troops killed “range from 10,000… to 13,000” but did not give a figure for the number of wounded.

Podolyak did say that Zelensky would make the official data public “when the right moment comes,” but there is currently no indication when that might be.


The Ukrainian Defense Forces claim that 239,480 Russian troops have been killed since the start of Moscow’s full-scale invasion.

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