Status: 23/09/2023, 04:49 a.m.
By: Stefan Krieger
Russian losses in the Ukraine war are enormous. A report shows that most soldiers do not survive long at the front.
Moscow – Around 300,000 military personnel have been called up in Russia on Putin's mobilization order for use in the Ukraine war. The high number of Russian war casualties has led some Moscow officials to call for another wave of mobilization. The Kremlin has hardly commented on its own losses, but the Ukrainian military currently puts the number of Russian troop losses at 274,470 soldiers. However, Ukraine's figures should also be taken with a grain of salt – they cannot be independently verified.
Reports from the independent investigative magazine IStories (Important Stories) and the war monitoring project Conflict Intelligence Team (CIT) now paint a detailed picture of the alleged Russian losses. For their research, the media examined publicly available data on the deaths of conscripts as part of the "partial mobilization" announced by Russian President Vladimir Putin a year ago.
Russian losses in Ukraine war: 3000 deaths investigated
Russia's mobilised soldiers were killed on average within 4.5 months of being called up, according to a report published on Thursday (21 September). According to the findings of IStories and CIT, "more than half of those who were mobilized survived less than five months at the front." One in five of those killed in the meantime did not even survive the first two months after being called up.
For their analysis, IStories and CIT examined about 3000,<> deaths of conscripts, which could be traced through media reports, official announcements and comments by relatives of the soldiers. According to the data, the actual death toll among the mobilized Russian troops is likely to be much higher than the reported one.
Moscow's mobilized soldiers were killed on average within 4.5 months of being called up in the Ukraine war. © Dpa
While the analysis revealed a large age difference between the youngest (19) and the oldest (62) of the dead mobilized soldiers, more than half of the mobilized soldiers killed were between 30 and 45 years old. Almost a third of the fallen were between 20 and 29 years old, and one in ten mobilized soldiers killed was under 25 years old. Only four of the mobilized soldiers who died in Ukraine lasted more than 11 months before being killed, IStories and CIT write.
Lack of rotation at the front: reason for low morale
The British Ministry of Defense recently pointed out in one of its intelligence reports that Russian troops in Ukraine suffer from low morale because they do not receive sufficient breaks from the front.
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"The lack of regular rotations of non-combat units is most likely one of the most important factors in the low Russian morale and the failure of the Russian army to conduct higher-level training since the invasion," the Ministry of Defense in London stated. "Most likely, the lack of such training contributes to Russia's difficulties in conducting successful complex offensive operations."
IStories and CIT also point to Russia's lack of troop rotations in their analysis. "Now many conscripts complain that they have been serving for eleven months and have never been at home. Once the mobilization begins, they can no longer refuse to participate [in the war] with impunity, and we are seeing an increase in criminal prosecution for leaving a unit without permission," the report said.
But what are the reasons for the lack of rotation? Why aren't Russian troops regularly replaced? The reasons could be quite simple: "Why aren't they sent on vacation? They are afraid that if you send 100 people on vacation, only half will return," says the paper by IStories and CIT. (skr)