Russian military personnel death toll hits 50000 in war with Ukraine

More than 50,000 Russian military personnel have died during the Ukraine conflict, the BBC reported Wednesday, citing its own reporters, independent media group Mediazona and volunteers.

They found that more than 27,300 Russian soldiers died during the second year of the war, a 25-percent increase on the first year.

BBC Russian, Mediazona and volunteers have been counting deaths since February 2022, using open-source information from official reports and the media, as well as using satellite images of Russian cemeteries to estimate the number of new graves.

The figure of more than 50,000 is eight times higher than the official toll acknowledged by Moscow in September 2022. It does not include deaths of militia in Donetsk and Lugansk in eastern Ukraine.

Ukraine said in February that it had lost 31,000 soldiers, but that figure is also likely to be significantly lower than the true toll.

Russian losses spiked in January 2023 as it launched a large-scale offensive in Donetsk and again months later last year during the battle for the city of Bakhmut.

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a “special military operation” at dawn on February 24, 2022, which has since turned into a bloody and attritional war, isolating Russia from the Western world.

Responding to the report, the Kremlin said it did not disclose any information on military deaths and casualties, which falls under the remit of the defence ministry.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov added official secrets laws and those covering what Russia calls its “special military operation” in Ukraine meant it was “absolutely understandable” that the ministry did not release the figures.