Putin’s Military Forces Suffer ‘Extraordinary’ Casualty Rate

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Substantial casualties have been sustained by those fighting on Russia’s side in the country’s ongoing war against Ukraine, according to information reported on this week by the U.K. defense ministry.

“The Russian authorities have not released the overall number of military casualties in Ukraine since 25 March,” the ministry said. “However, the self-declared Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) publishes casualty figures for DPR forces. As of 16 June, the DPR acknowledged 2128 military personnel killed in action, and 8897 wounded, since the start of 2022. The DPR casualty rate is equivalent to around 55 per cent of its original force, which highlights the extraordinary attrition Russian and pro-Russian forces are suffering in the Donbas.” The Donbas encompasses Ukraine’s Luhansk and Donetsk regions, which have recently been among the primary locations of ground-level fighting in Ukraine.

The so-called Donetsk People’s Republic is a self-declared independent republic on Ukrainian territory, the independence of which is not internationally recognized. The so-called republic’s assistance for Putin’s military in the war in Ukraine exemplifies how political movements pushing for independence in the Donbas region directly connect to Russian ambitions to destabilize Ukraine. Although Russia doesn’t consistently update its acknowledgements of losses in Ukraine, Ukrainian military authorities claim their forces to have killed over 34,400 Russian soldiers in fighting so far, and adding estimates for the number of wounded soldiers onto that total shows the vast scope of apparent impacts to the Russian military.

Available information from the BBC’s Russian service indicates new recruits for the Russian military have gotten no more than a week of training before going to the front lines. Russian leaders are also bringing down their recruitment-associated standards on a variety of subjects, including age, health, criminal records and more. As for Ukraine, “A senior Ukrainian presidential aide has told the BBC that between 100 and 200 Ukrainian troops are being killed on the front line every day,” per the BBC’s reporting, although estimates of losses suffered by the Ukrainian military vary. That aide in touch with the BBC was Mykhailo Podolyak. “The Russian forces have thrown pretty much everything non-nuclear at the front and that includes heavy artillery, multiple rocket launch systems and aviation,” he said, adding: “Our demands for artillery are not just some kind of whim… but an objective need when it comes to the situation on the battlefield.”

The impacts on Ukraine’s civilian population also remain steep. According to The Guardian this month, “a person among several coordinating burials in [Mariupol]… said they believed the [death toll] was closer to 50,000.” That’s only in Mariupol, which Russian forces now control. The Biden administration was “expected to publicly announce another round of military assistance for Ukraine as soon as” Thursday, according to CNN. That tranche of weapons for the country’s defense was “expected to include additional High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) as well as artillery ammunition” and was “expected to total no more than approximately $500 million,” also according to CNN’s reporting. There’s been a consistent stream of announcements from the Biden administration and authorities elsewhere in the world of defense assistance for Ukraine in the form of weapons deliveries.