Half of the soldiers killed or wounded – the true loss of the Russians

Military expert analyzes: Half of Putin’s soldiers may be dead or wounded – Russians’ real losses

A “lightning war” is no longer a problem for Putin’s army. Meanwhile, it has turned out that the supposedly gigantic Russian army is a pseudo-giant. A military expert from the USA has now calculated Russia’s possible losses – and come to a shocking conclusion, which also European experts consider plausible.

At the beginning of the war on February 24, experts expected a “lightning war”. Given the numerical superiority of the Russian army, it seemed to be a matter of days before Putin’s troops would have completely conquered Ukraine and occupied Kiev.

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On paper, the Russian dictator had a gigantic army at his disposal with over 900,000 men – four and a half times as many as Ukraine. The Russians had three times as many tanks and cannons in their arsenal compared to Ukraine, and tens of thousands more armored vehicles. In addition, the dreaded hypersonic missiles and an air force ten times superior.

But paper is patient.

The number of Russian military statistics is exaggerated

Foreign policy expert Thomas Jäger from the University of Cologne on FOCUS Online: “As with any army, Russian figures on troop strength and combat efficiency are misleading.” The rest are employed in administration, service or logistics or are conscripts.

The situation is similar to the material: as in the Bundeswehr, only a fraction of Russian tanks, jets and ships are operational. In addition, the violent corruption in Russia, which also affects the suitability of the material. It is highly likely that the figures in Russian statistics are exaggerated, many weapon systems are obsolete, useless or in fact only exist on paper.

Example of troop strength: Not all of the approximately 200,000 combat-capable soldiers can go to the Russian-Ukrainian front. Many must stay at other military bases along Russia’s seemingly endless borders. US military expert Michael Kofman expects a maximum of about 125,000 troops that Putin has so far thrown into the Ukraine war. Kofman is an analyst at the Center for a New American Security, a pro-government think tank in Washington.

Kofman estimates the original troop strength of the Russian invaders at the beginning of the war at a maximum of 90,000 men, supplemented by auxiliary troops with a maximum of 25,000 soldiers – a total of 115,000. In addition, up to 12,000 soldiers were added as reinforcements in the further course of the war. Kofman considers the number of 190,000 men rumored by the Russian side or other estimates, which speak of 150,000, to be exaggerated given the Russians’ actually somewhat lower battalion forces.

So he assumes that Vladimir Putin has so far sent a maximum of about 127,000 troops into the war. And of those, about ten percent are dead. The various reports from Russia, Ukraine and foreign observers indicate an average of 12,000 Russian soldiers killed.

Up to 50 percent of Putin’s frontline soldiers may be dead or wounded

Based on statistics from previous wars and current data, analyst Kofman also estimates the ratio of killed and wounded Russian soldiers at 1 to 3.5. Too many wounded soldiers – even those who are still partially combat-ready – can become a problem for the Army, Kofman says, “Some wounded can still fight, but units can be disabled based on the number of killed, wounded and other types of victims.”


In addition to the 12,000 dead, there were also 42,000 wounded Russian soldiers. As a result, 54,000 men out of 127,000 are no longer or only partially operational – that is, about 43 percent. Assuming a lower Russian troop strength, just over 50 percent of the approximately 110,000 troops Putin sent to the front would now be dead or wounded.

Kujat and Wyss believe the number of dead and wounded is plausible

Michel Wyss, expert in warfare at the Military Academy of ETH Zurich, points out: “There is simply no accurate information on the strength of Russian troops, dead and wounded, the wide range of estimates and speculations reflect that.” Wyss keeps the numbers from Kofman, a well-known expert in the Russian military, but considered plausible.

The former Inspector General of the German Armed Forces, Harald Kujat, agrees: “Overall, the number of 12,000 dead Russian soldiers could be correct. I think ten percent is realistic, “Kujat told FOCUS Online:” The ratio of 1 to 3.5 between dead and injured seems a little too high to me. But when the Russian army dared to take part in a costly civil war at the beginning of the war, it could also be true in the end. “

Is Putin now running out of troops? How will the dictator compensate for the losses? Who should now serve as cannon fodder for his desire for world power?

“Cruel Normality of War”: Soldiers Always Die

Wyss: “According to publicly available information, the Russian military leadership is trying to compensate for losses in its formations by offering short-term and by Russian standards very well-paid contracts to professional soldiers.” Military leadership plays a trick: “In addition, attempts are being made to persuade reservists and conscripts to sign appropriate contracts to serve as professional soldiers in Ukraine,” Wyss explains: “These measures are aimed at mobilizing in part or even in general for as long as as possible.”

Also read: Putin’s “silent mobilization”: Russia is now aggressively recruiting new troops

Despite the deployment of younger soldiers, Harald Kujat believes that a long war is likely: “I do not believe that Russia is already running out of soldiers. In war you always have a personnel problem, and you always lose equipment – that is the cruel normality in a war. Decimated battalions are then pulled out, regenerated and refreshed with young soldiers. In the long run, it could be problematic for Russia, but I do not see it now. “

The former inspector general points out: “It is clear that we overestimated the Russian armed forces at the beginning of the war. But now we must not make the mistake of underestimating them. “

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