In the absence of any official government figures, a group led by a historian and a volunteer researcher has estimated the number of military fatalities that Ukraine has suffered during the 21-month full-scale Russian invasion, Reuters reported.

The group puts the number at approximately 24,500 “combat and non-combat” deaths, not including the 15,000 soldiers listed as missing, many of whom are presumed to have died.

In all, the group believes the real total is more than 30,000.

They also posited that about 100,000 Ukrainian soldiers have been injured in the war, on an assumption that there are historically three times as many wounded soldiers as fatalities.

Historian Yaroslav Tychenko and volunteer Herman Shapovalenko published the results of Shapovalenko’s “Book of Memory” research project in the Ukrainian journal, Tyzhden, (“The Week”) on Tuesday.

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Official death tolls in war are notoriously unreliable, and Kyiv as a matter of policy does not release such figures so as not to risk public fatigue of the defense effort. Journalists have tried to put an independently researched number on Ukrainian military deaths since the invasion began in February 2022.

Citing anonymous US officials, the New York Times in August published an estimate of 70,000 Ukrainian soldiers killed in the war, and about a half million dead in both Ukrainian and Russian forces.

ISW Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, June 19, 2024
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ISW Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, June 19, 2024

Latest from the Institute for the Study of War.

On Sept. 24, the United Nations Commission on Human Rights calculated the number of Ukrainian civilian casualties in the war at 9,701 killed and 17,748 injured.

The Ukrainian government does, however, publish its estimates of Russian losses (which Kyiv Post uses for its tally on its website). The latest official Russian casualties in Ukraine stand at 314,290. The Defense Ministry said earlier this month that Russia had lost 22,920 troops in October 2023 alone.

Ukraine referred to the numbers as Russian troops "eliminated," which does not necessarily mean the number of dead. Ukrainian forces use drone footage to determine the number of Russian soldiers killed on the frontline, which could potentially include both killed and wounded.

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Ukraine's command-in-chief Valery Zaluzhny said Russian troops have “at least 150,000 dead” since the full-scale invasion began in a recent interview with The Economist.

By contrast, Russia lost an estimated 15,000 soldiers in its 10-year war in Afghanistan.

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