Russia's Large Reported Daily Death Tolls Show No Signs of Slowing Down

Ukraine's armed forces on Friday reported another 800 Russian soldiers killed in action, bringing Kyiv's total claim of invaders killed since February 24, 2022, to 141,260—an unconfirmed figure that nonetheless suggests severe casualties for Moscow's units.

Kyiv has been releasing its account of enemy losses since the first days of the full-scale invasion, which is now approaching its one-year anniversary with no end in sight.

Though it is not possible to verify the true numbers of dead and wounded on either side, Ukraine and its Western partners believe Russia has incurred serious casualties stretching into the hundreds of thousands. Newsweek has contacted the Russian defense ministry for comment.

Friday's reported 800 dead fits into a recent pattern of mounting Russian losses, coinciding with the beginning of Moscow's long-awaited spring offensive it hopes will overwhelm Ukrainian defenders and capture the remainder of the partially occupied Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts.

Ukraine soldiers carry dead Russian soldier Kharkiv
Ukrainian servicemen carry a plastic bag containing the body of a killed Russian soldier found in a destroyed hospital building of the liberated village of Petropavlivka near Kupiansk, Kharkiv region on December 15, 2022. Ukraine's armed forces on Friday reported another 800 Russian soldiers killed in action, bringing Kyiv's total claim of invaders killed since February 24, 2022, to 141,260. SERGEY BOBOK/AFP via Getty Images

Last weekend, Ukraine reported the highest daily figure of Russian KIA (killed in action) since the start of the invasion—1,140 personnel—which itself topped the daily record of 1,030 KIA claimed only days before.

Though unconfirmed, Ukrainian figures generally chime with the estimates of their foreign partners. Western officials believe that close to 200,000 Russian troops have been killed or wounded since February 2022, according to a recent report by The Wall Street Journal.

Russia does not regularly disclose its own casualty figures. Moscow has not updated its official public death toll since September 2022, when it claimed to have lost just under 6,000 troops fighting in Ukraine.

The Pentagon has predicted that Russia will continue to take high casualties as it pushes its new offensive in eastern and southeastern Ukraine. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said this week that Moscow "continues to pour large numbers of additional people into the fight."

"Those people are ill-trained and ill-equipped, and because of that, we see them incurring a lot of casualties. And we'll probably continue to see that going forward. That's their strength. They have a lot of people."

The British Ministry of Defense, meanwhile, said last weekend that the "uptick in Russian casualties" in recent weeks is likely a result of a "lack of trained personnel, coordination, and resources across the front."

Ukrainian units, the ministry added, are also likely suffering a "high attrition rate" in the high-intensity battles around key objectives like Bakhmut, Kreminna, and Vuhledar.

Ukraine closely guards its casualty figures. Kyiv has acknowledged around 13,000 deaths since February last year.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen have both suggested a total of around 100,000 casualties on the Ukrainian side, though this may be a cumulative figure of killed and wounded for both military and civilians.