More than 100,000 Russian soldiers have been killed in Ukraine since the invasion of Moscow began on February 24, according to daily updates released by the Ukrainian government.
On Wednesday, 660 Russian soldiers were killed in Ukraine, bringing the total Russian dead to 100,400.
This means that Russian forces have lost an average of around 10,000 soldiers killed each month since February. The conflict since February has been Russia’s costliest in terms of military casualties since World War II.
Wednesday’s total put together by the Ukrainian military included another Russian aircraft, one tank, two armored personnel carriers, seven artillery systems, seven other vehicles and five drones.
Russia does not routinely publish figures on troop or material losses. Moscow has so far confirmed the deaths of less than 6,000 troops, along with less than 4,000 additional fighters from Russia’s puppet ‘people’s republics’ that created occupied Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts after the invasion of 2014.
Newsweek contacted the Russian Defense Ministry for comment.
Ukraine is also cautious about its own military losses. So far, Kyiv has only admitted 13,000 deaths since February 24.
Ukraine’s backers abroad have shed some more light on Kyiv’s possible losses. General Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen hinted at some 100,000 casualties in total on the Ukrainian side, although this could include military and dead civilians as well as wounded.
Winter has slowed combat operations on the southern and eastern fronts, but heavy fighting continues around the town of Bakhmut in Donetsk, where Moscow appears determined to secure a largely symbolic victory despite heavy casualties.
President Volodymyr Zelensky visited the city on Tuesday and urged the “heroes” fighting there to “preserve your perseverance”. The president added: “History only remembers the victors, the strong and the brave.”
President Vladimir Putin, meanwhile, hopes that hundreds of thousands of mobilized troops can plug gaps in Russian lines and prepare his forces to resume offensive operations in 2023.
Putin admitted this week that the situation in the Russian-occupied areas of Ukraine was “extremely difficult”.
Ukrainian leaders have warned that Moscow may consider opening a new front along the Belarus-Ukraine border, speculating that Putin’s visit to Minsk this week is the latest step in an effort to push his Belarusian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko to send his own troops across the border. .
Such a move would be risky, experts have suggested. A Russian-Belarusian invasion force heading south into Ukraine would face the same problems – and possibly the same high casualties – as the group that attempted to capture Kyiv in the spring.
The defeat of a Belarusian force could also spark a resurgence of the mass pro-democracy movement that nearly toppled Lukashenko in 2020.
The pace of fighting is expected to pick up in January, when the frozen ground will allow further mechanized offensives.
Ukraine and Russia are believed to be planning their own operations, with Kyiv likely focusing on the occupied southern corridor stretching from Zaporizhzhia to occupied Melitopol and towards the Sea of Azov coast and Crimea.