In a rare admission, Russia confirms that its military is losing a minimum of 250 soldiers per day

A worker places a portrait at the grave of Dmitry Menshikov killed during the fighting in Ukraine, in the Alley of Heroes at a cemetery in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Around 273,750 Russian troops have been killed since the start of Vladimir Putin’s full-scale invasion, averaging around 250 a day, according to independent Russian media outlets which have cited government data.

Since the start of the war on February 24, 2022, Ukraine’s defense ministry has given daily updates on Russian troop casualties, which as of Saturday, had reached 549,840.

Kyiv clarified last year that this daily figure included those both killed and wounded in battle, in estimates that used to differ markedly from other Western estimates. But in recent months figures have become more closely aligned.

For instance, Leo Docherty, former British minister of state for the Armed Forces, said in April the U.K. estimates Russian losses at over 450,000. A U.S. estimate in December put the total at 315,000, compared with Ukraine’s tally at the time of 340,650.

Drawing on publicly available information, such as obituaries, social media posts and regional media reports. Mediazona and BBC News Russian have given regular counts of killed Russian troops they can name, which when last updated on Friday numbered 58,207. Because of the level of proof required, the joint project caveats the figures as being a significant underestimate.

But a separate count by Mediazona and Meduza has also given “flash estimates” of Russian deaths. The figures are based on analyzing databases of inheritance cases and comparing the trends with mortality data from Russia’s State Statistics Service, the Russian Probate Registry, as well as obituaries.

Drawing on this data, the project said on Friday that, according to its latest calculations, “as of the end of June, approximately 120,000 Russian servicemen have died in the war since 2022, but the real number could be as high as 140,000.”

It said its figures showed that Russia’s losses “have risen significantly in recent months” nearly double the average casualty rate in the last three months of 2023 when there were around 120 deaths per day. “Right now, there are about 200—250 deaths daily,” it added.

Newsweek has contacted the Russian defense ministry for comment. It has not updated its official tally of nearly 6,000 troop deaths since September 2022.

Neither Kyiv nor Moscow releases detailed casualty figures, although Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in February 2024 that 31,000 Ukrainian troops had been killed in action during the invasion, without saying how many had been wounded.

Meanwhile, in June, Putin said that the ratio of “irretrievable losses” between Russia and Ukraine was one to five in favor of Moscow, without providing evidence for his claim. Ukrainian and U.S. battlefield estimates have estimated Russia has suffered significantly more casualties than Kyiv.

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