Russian opposition media estimated that upwards of 75,000 Russian personnel have died in Ukraine since the start of the full-scale invasion in February 2022.

Russian opposition outlets Meduza and Mediazona published a joint report on February 24 wherein they compared Mediazona’s ongoing count of confirmed Russian deaths with the Russian Register of Inheritance Cases (RND) and mortality data from the Russian Federal State Statistics Service (Rosstat) to estimate the number of Russian military deaths in Ukraine.

Meduza and Mediazona estimated that 66,000 to 88,000 Russian personnel have died in the war between February 2022 and December 2023. They extrapolated the current monthly rate of Russian military deaths in Ukraine to January and February 2024 and estimated that roughly 83,000 Russian personnel may have died since the start of the full-scale invasion.

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Meduza and Mediazona noted that Russian military deaths in Ukraine began to steadily increase following the start of localized Russian offensive operations in eastern Ukraine in October 2023 and added that Russian volunteers have made up the majority of the deaths since mid-2023.

US intelligence assessed in December 2023 that Russian forces had suffered 315,000 casualties in Ukraine since February 2022.

Meduza’s and Mediazona’s estimate is consistent with this US assessment, assuming a standard three to one wounded-to-killed casualty rate for Russian forces in Ukraine.

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Moscow has been accused of forcibly taking Ukrainian children into Russian territory during its full-scale offensive, with Lvova-Belova wanted by the ICC on charges related to those allegations.

Russian forces are currently sustaining offensive operations in Ukraine despite these heavy losses by relying on crypto-mobilization efforts. Russia is generating new forces roughly at a rate equivalent to current Russian losses, which allows Russian forces to consistently reinforce attacking units and regularly conduct operational-level rotations.

It is unclear if Russia would be able to sustain offensive operations in the same way at a higher operational tempo that would generate even greater losses, however.

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