Ukraine reports that it has killed about 26,000 invading Russian soldiers. Ukraine’s reports of Russian losses – unlike Russia’s own reports – have been fairly reliable, say observers, though NATO estimates a somewhat lower number. As for Ukraine’s own dead, they appear to be significantly fewer than Russia’s even after including the civilians that Russia has murdered.
Ukraine’s figures are not inconsistent with a report from the U.K. that over one-fourth of Russia’s 150,000-man army attacking Ukraine, amounting to perhaps 40,000, has been rendered “combat ineffective.” That means they’re dead or wounded badly enough that they can’t fight.
Russian deaths amount to about 400/day. They truck the corpses back to Russia at nighttime to conceal the carnage.
Put that into the context of modern warfare. The United States lost about 2,400 soldiers in 20 years in Afghanistan. We lost about 6,800 soldiers in the war for Iraq over the course of 14 years. The Soviets lost only about 14,000 soldiers in the ten years they fought in Afghanistan – a number they’ve far exceeded in ten weeks in Ukraine.
At this rate, by midsummer Russia’s death toll in Ukraine will exceed the 58,000 American dead in Vietnam – a death toll that took 15 years to reach.
Russian materiel is also taking a beating. They’ve lost about 1,000 tanks, compared to the U.S.’s loss of maybe two dozen in the Iraq wars which entailed the biggest tank battles since WWII. They’ve lost several hundred airplanes and helicopters and at least half a dozen ships including their flagship of the Black Sea, aptly named the Moskva or “Moscow.”
Ten to twelve Russian generals have been killed in combat, several by expert Ukrainian marksmen shooting from a mile away. Russian military morale is widely reported to be dismal. Go figure.
Even apart from the biting sanctions, this is not sustainable for Russia. They’re losing this war.