Report: 50,000 Russian Soldiers ‘Confirmed Dead’ in Ukraine, While Kyiv Claims Nearly Half a Million Casualties

ST PETERSBURG, RUSSIA - 2024/04/05: A man in the uniform of the Great Patriotic War (left
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The exact cost of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine remains opaque and hard to assess. Still, claims continue to vary wildly, from as little as 31,000 Ukrainian dead according to Kyiv, to as many as half a million Russian “casualties”.

There have now been more than 50,000 Russian soldiers “confirmed” as having died since the 2022 invasion of Ukraine so far and the true number may be far higher, a project between Britain’s state broadcaster, an independent media monitoring group, and volunteers claims.

The BBC says it has been monitoring the appearance of new graves in Russia, collating open-source information and newspaper reports, and watching social media to reach the figure.

The report states the body count for Russian forces is up 25 per cent in the second year of the conflict and the broadcaster “can confirm” that Russian military deaths have surpassed “the 50,000 mark”.

It added that the “actual number of Russian deaths is likely to be much higher. Our analysis does not include the deaths of militia in Russian-occupied Donetsk and Luhansk – in eastern Ukraine. If they were added, the death toll on the Russian side would be even higher.”

Nevertheless, the BBC figure is a fraction of those claimed by the Ukrainian government, whose assessment of Russian battlefield losses is nearly ten times that, and grinds onwards to half a million.

Ukraine’s use of ambiguous language, with official communications frequently referring to Russian troops as having been “eliminated” or “destroyed”, makes it difficult to determine when Kyiv is claiming enemy combatants were killed or merely injured.

According to Ukraine’s latest official figures, Russia has lost 456,050 personnel, up 710 in the past three weeks.

Ukraine’s count has historically been well in advance of other Western estimates of Russian casualties — injured and killed — with Britain’s Ministry of Defence stating in March it believed there to have been 355,000 Russian casualties. At that time, Ukraine was claiming 416,000. The United States estimated 315,000 Russian casualties at the end of 2023.

Some of the lowest claims are by Ukraine for its own casualties. President Zelensky spoke out on the matter on the second anniversary of the present invasion commending, and decried Russian claims of 300,000 Ukrainian dead was a “deceitful” Kremlin lie, and said the true figure is 31,000 killed.


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