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“120 dead a day”: New research quantifies Russia’s losses in the Ukraine war


Highlights: “120 dead a day’: New research quantifies Russia’s losses in the Ukraine war.. As of: February 24, 2024, 9:21 p.m By: Karsten Hinzmann CommentsPressSplit According to Napoleon, the dead are counted at the end of a battle. According to the British Ministry of Defense, around 70,000 Russian troops had been killed in Ukraine. US sources spoke of a total of 315,000 fallen and wounded Russian soldiers.

As of: February 24, 2024, 9:21 p.m

By: Karsten Hinzmann




According to Napoleon, the dead are counted at the end of a battle.

Reports of casualties in the Ukraine war are constantly circulating in the media.

Can you trust the numbers?

Moscow – “120 deaths a day – that is the price that Russia pays for the attack on the neighboring country,” the Russian portal


currently reports .

Saturday, February 24th, marks the second anniversary of the Ukraine War.

Based on a major investigation, independent media portals




have estimated the number of Russian soldiers killed so far in Vladimir Putin's war against Ukraine at 75,000.

The exact value could be between 66,000 and 88,000 dead, the portals write.

Are these numbers correct?

According to information from Spiegel

, the investigative journalists said

they had derived their results from the evaluation of a database for inheritance matters, from the death register and statistical information, as well as from information from surviving relatives.

Both parties in the Ukraine war repeatedly publish figures that are not subject to independent verification.

Western secret services also continually estimate the number of casualties on both sides.

Current estimates from the US and British secret services come from December last year.

Grossly exaggerated: Zelensky's assessment of Russian losses

The British Ministry of Defense estimated in December that around 70,000 Russian troops had been killed in Ukraine.

According to the British, these were 50,000 regular soldiers and 20,000 mercenaries from the Wagner Group.

In addition, there would be up to 280,000 wounded.

US sources spoke of a total of 315,000 fallen and wounded Russian soldiers - according to their estimates, 87 percent of Russia's armed forces that existed before the Ukraine war would have been wiped out.

Losses in the Ukraine War: Both sides outdo each other with horror reports about simple numbers.

But every death is an individual human tragedy.

(Archive photo) © Alex Babenko/dpa

President Volodymyr Zelenskyj commented on the losses on the Ukrainian side that for every defender killed there were five attackers killed.

Western observers estimate the ratio to be closer to 1:2.

“The figures published by Ukraine on Russian deaths are not completely wrong,” says American Henry Schlottman, who prepares figures for the

Neue Zürcher Zeitung


He could recognize patterns in it.

So, if the USA reports that more Russian soldiers are being killed, then the Ukrainian numbers are also increasing, he explains.

“But the numbers are overestimated.

“I suspect that Ukraine counts soldiers killed multiple times because several units report the same kill,” says Schlottman in the



My recommendation is therefore to say that we don't know something, what we think we know and what is really certain.

These distinctions are not made enough.

Military historian Sönke Neitzel told the Germany editorial network

Germany's leading military historian Sönke Neitzel is at loggerheads with the published figures, as he told the

editorial network Germany

: "What you announce are ultimately all numbers that are intended to spread a political message about your own success.

They may have a certain relationship to reality, but they do not describe it exactly,” says Neitzel.

According to him, the published loss figures are fundamentally on very shaky foundations.

Simply extrapolated: Figures are based on Russian traffic at the front

The announcements are based entirely on assumptions because none of the warring parties publish valid figures and do not allow independent verification.

Analysts base their attention on observations of road and rail traffic and how many soldiers or vehicles are transported into a frontline area and how many leave again.

In addition, satellites are monitored and radio traffic is intercepted.

This results in situational images of the intensity of combat activity;

Broken down into individual battles with the corresponding units, whose approximate strength is known, corresponding projections can then be made.

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Neitzel also criticizes the sloppy terminology in the reporting: By losses he means not only the fallen but also the wounded soldiers, the missing and prisoners.

Depending on which side uses the terms, it obscures its message.

He includes both sides;

According to him, in fact, in publications, no side should be trusted more than the other;

Neitzel therefore generally advises caution when dealing with numbers.

“We should be clear that there is little that we really know for sure.

The number of deaths is probably in the tens of thousands.

But we don't know more.

My recommendation is therefore to say that we don't know something, what we think we know and what is really certain.

These distinctions are not made enough.”

Urgent warning: Loss figures deserve, above all, distrust

Other scientists describe the situation more drastically - as part of a propaganda campaign that both sides are waging against each other.

According to this, Western intelligence services can be used more for Ukrainian interests because the aggressor Russia is under closer observation, as the



Ukraine tends to be neglected in reporting because, as a defender, it generally reacts more passively.

Michael Zinkanell, director of the Austria Institute for European and Security Policy (AIES), warns the


to be as sober as possible when dealing with the figures and supposed facts presented.

In his opinion, it is simply impossible to collect reliable data due to the confusion of events on site.

This means that the question of plausibility can only be answered hypothetically and it is not possible for either party to quantify the exact losses – both personnel and material – says Zinkanell.

As long as the fighting continues, the figures will be published for a specific purpose and should therefore be used with caution.

The French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte is said to have been stoic in this regard - he is credited with the aphorism that the dead are only counted at the end of a battle.

Source: merkur

All news articles on 2024-02-24

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