British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace told Parliament on Monday that about 15,000 Russian troops have died in Ukraine since the Kremlin invaded on Feb. 24, and about a quarter of the 120 battalion tactical groups Moscow committed to its invasion “have been rendered not combat effective.” Russia has also lost about 2,000 tanks and other armored vehicles, and more than 60 helicopters and fighter jets, Wallace added. “Russia has so far failed in nearly every one of its objectives.”
The estimate from British intelligence is in line with numbers published by the pro-Kremlin media outlet Readovka, citing a “closed briefing” from Russia’s Defense Ministry. In its report, since blamed on a hack, Readovka said Russia has lost 13,414 soldiers in Ukraine, 7,000 more are missing, and 116 sailors were killed up on the sunken Black Sea flagship Moskva.
“The Russian Ministry of Defense hides losses,” tweeted Sergey Smirnov, editor-in-chief of the independent Russian media site Mediazona, but “we found out exactly who is dying in this war on the part of Russia,” including “a lot of officers.” Mediazona based its numbers on 1,744 military deaths confirmed by the pro-Kremlin press, relatives of slain soldiers, local authorities, or educational institutions.
“At least 500 soldiers of the most combat-ready units — paratroopers, marines, and special forces — were killed,” Mediazona reports. “More than 300 officers were killed. Among them are two major generals and the deputy commander of the Black Sea Fleet,” Capt. Andrei Paly, plus more than 70 National Guardsmen, 20 airplane pilots, and seven helicopter pilots. Ukraine has claimed that three other major generals and at least two lieutenant generals were killed, Mediazona adds, but it couldn’t confirm those deaths and did not count them in its tally.