U.S. intelligence assesses Russia lost nearly 87% of the total committed personnel in the Ukraine war

Snow covers the body of a dead Russian soldier near a highway outside Kharkiv, Ukraine, a day after the invasion began.

A declassified U.S. intelligence report assessed that the Ukraine war has cost Russia 315,000 dead and injured troops, or nearly 87% of the personnel it had when the conflict began, a source familiar with the intelligence said on Tuesday.

The report also assessed that Moscow’s losses in personnel, tanks and vehicles to Ukraine’s military have set back Russia’s military modernization by 18 years, the source said.

The U.K. Defense Ministry said on Dec. 4 that it estimates 320,000 Russian troops have been killed or injured since Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

Russia has lost a staggering 87 percent of the total number of active-duty ground troops it had prior to launching its invasion of Ukraine and two-thirds of its pre-invasion tanks, a source familiar with a declassified US intelligence assessment provided to Congress told CNN.

“Since launching its offensive in October, we assess that the Russian military has suffered more than 13,000 casualties along the Avdiivka-Novopavlivka axis and over 220 combat vehicle losses-the equivalent of 6 maneuver battalions in equipment alone,” NSC spokesperson Adrienne Watson told CNN.

Before the invasion, Russia had a total standing military of approximately 900,000 active-duty troops, including ground troops, airborne troops, special operations and other uniformed personnel, according to the CIA. Since the start of the invasion, Russia has announced plans to increase the size of the armed forces to 1.5 million. The Russian Ministry of Defense has announced several rounds of conscription, including its regular fall conscription cycle on October 1.

Russian officials have said Western estimates of Russian death tolls in the war are vastly exaggerated and almost always underestimate Ukrainian losses, which Russian officials say are vast.

The source spoke as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy made a last-ditch plea for more military aid to U.S. lawmakers on Capitol Hill, where he faced a skeptical reception from key Republicans.

At a news conference later in the day, U.S. President Joe Biden reaffirmed continued support to Zelenskiy, and warned lawmakers they risked handing a victory to Russia.

The source said the recently declassified U.S. intelligence report assessed that Russia began its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 with 360,000 personnel.

Since then, the report found, 315,000 Russian troops, or about 87% of the total with which it started the war, have been killed or injured, the source said.

Those losses are the reason Russia has loosened recruitment standards for deployment in Ukraine, the source added.

“The scale of losses has forced Russia to take extraordinary measures to sustain its ability to fight. Russia declared a partial mobilization of 300,000 personnel in late 2022, and has relaxed standards to allow recruitment of convicts and older civilians,” the assessment said, according to the source.

Kyiv treats its losses as a state secret and officials say disclosing the figure could harm its war effort. A New York Times report in August cited U.S. officials as putting the Ukrainian death toll at close to 70,000.

Writing in the Ukrainian journal Tyzhden, historian Yaroslav Tynchenko and volunteer Herman Shapovalenko last month said Shapovalenko’s Book of Memory project had confirmed 24,500 Ukrainian combat and non-combat deaths using open sources.

The real figure was likely higher, they said.

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