Total Casualties in Ukraine according to CBC

There was an article on 8 December by CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) that provided a reasonable discussion of casualties in Ukraine. It is here: Hundreds of thousands wounded and dead in Ukraine as war grinds on, intelligence suggests (yahoo.com).

It states for Russia (based upon UK estimates):

50,000 killed + 20,000 Wagner Group = 70,000 killed

240,000 wounded + 40,000 Wagner Group = 280,000 wounded.

 

My comments: Wounded-to-killed ratio: 4.80-to-1 for regular forces and 2-to-1 for Wagner Group. Total of 4-to-1 ratio (precisely, which is odd). I assume LPR and DPR forces are included in these totals.

My comments: The Mediazona by name count of as of 1 December is 38,261. They estimate they are counting only half, making for a total Russian killed of 76,522. This does not include members of LPR and DPR forces who are not Russian.

They give Ukrainian casualties as:

24,500 named + 15,000 missing + 5,500 or more killed who are not named (an estimate based upon the assumption that they are naming 70% of the killed) = 45,000 or more.

My comments: Now, my nagging suspicion is that Ukrainian losses are at least 75% of Russian losses or 70K x .75 = 52,500 or greater.

As they note, a U.S. estimate in August by the U.S. (quoted in NYT) was that Ukraine had close to 70,000 killed and 120,000 wounded (which produces a rather meaningless wounded-to-killed ratio).

My comments: No wounded figures are given for the Ukrainians, but no reason not to assume it is at least four times the number killed.

More than 10,000 civilians have been killed (UN figures).

My comments: The last UN report for 10 September stated 9,614 civilian dead. Not sure why there are not more recent reports.

Total dead is at least 70K + 52.5K + 10K = 132.5K

My comments: In my briefing I give in Norway in early November, I gave the Russian losses aa over 60K killed, Ukrainian losses as over 45K killed and civilian losses as over 10K.

My comments: Note that some people and governments have released much higher figures than this. I do wonder what are the basis for these claims.

 

P.S. My book The Battle for Kyiv is out in the UK. So far I have not heard any feedback.

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About Christopher A. Lawrence

Christopher A. Lawrence is a professional historian and military analyst. He is the Executive Director and President of The Dupuy Institute, an organization dedicated to scholarly research and objective analysis of historical data related to armed conflict and the resolution of armed conflict. The Dupuy Institute provides independent, historically-based analyses of lessons learned from modern military experience. ... Mr. Lawrence was the program manager for the Ardennes Campaign Simulation Data Base, the Kursk Data Base, the Modern Insurgency Spread Sheets and for a number of other smaller combat data bases. He has participated in casualty estimation studies (including estimates for Bosnia and Iraq) and studies of air campaign modeling, enemy prisoner of war capture rates, medium weight armor, urban warfare, situational awareness, counterinsurgency and other subjects for the U.S. Army, the Defense Department, the Joint Staff and the U.S. Air Force. He has also directed a number of studies related to the military impact of banning antipersonnel mines for the Joint Staff, Los Alamos National Laboratories and the Vietnam Veterans of American Foundation. ... His published works include papers and monographs for the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment and the Vietnam Veterans of American Foundation, in addition to over 40 articles written for limited-distribution newsletters and over 60 analytical reports prepared for the Defense Department. He is the author of Kursk: The Battle of Prokhorovka (Aberdeen Books, Sheridan, CO., 2015), America’s Modern Wars: Understanding Iraq, Afghanistan and Vietnam (Casemate Publishers, Philadelphia & Oxford, 2015), War by Numbers: Understanding Conventional Combat (Potomac Books, Lincoln, NE., 2017) , The Battle of Prokhorovka (Stackpole Books, Guilford, CT., 2019), The Battle for Kyiv (Frontline Books, Yorkshire, UK, 2023), Aces at Kursk (Air World, Yorkshire, UK, 2024), Hunting Falcon: The Story of WWI German Ace Hans-Joachim Buddecke (Air World, Yorkshire, UK, 2024) and The Siege of Mariupol (Frontline Books, Yorkshire, UK, 2024). ... Mr. Lawrence lives in northern Virginia, near Washington, D.C., with his wife and son.

14 thoughts on “Total Casualties in Ukraine according to CBC

  1. Prigozhin has been quoted as saying 100-120,000 Russians had been killed up to the time of the Wagner rebellion. This was reported by Leo Kunnas of the Estonian National Defense Committee and Politico EU. The source material, presumably, was one of Prigozhin’s Telegram videos shortly before he “declared war” on Shoigu (and I don’t feel like picking up a virus looking for it). Everyone appears to have taken Prigozhin’s word at face value concerning Wagner Group casualties, but this other figure seems to have been ignored. It matches with the US estimate of 120,000 dead in August and Zaluzhny’s estimate of 150,000 in November.

    • Yea, the UK has not accepted these higher figures, nor have I.

      Part of the issue is that Mediazona is only counting 38,261 killed as of 1 December in their by-name count compared to 120,000 claimed killed in August. If you go with the higher figures, then that means they are counting around only one out of four killed. Not sure how that happens.

      Also, the wounded-to-killed ratios become an issue. 120,000 killed implies at least 480,000 wounded, or more than 600,000 total casualties. That is pretty hard to do in a force that is only around 300,000.

      Lots of reasons to question these higher figures.

      • Mediazona calls its numbers “the most conservative estimate.” In particular, the Russians’ use of prisoners and conscripts from rural areas makes it difficult to track all military burials. (Forget the internet, there are still 29 million people in that country without running water – 20% of the population).

        Mediazona also doesn’t count the LNR or DNR, which would add another 20,000 killed (based on the BBC News estimate from October) and 100k total casualties. Adding all that together gets you pretty close to the 100,000 mark between the regular Russian Army, Wagner Group, and the L/DNR puppet troops.

        Putin today also gave some very interesting personnel statics:
        – The total size of the Russian Army “in the combat zone” is 617,000, including 244,000 who were mobilized last year.
        – Overall, 486,000 have signed contracts with the Russian Army. This may only refer to 2023, since the subject of the address is “Results of the Year.” This is bolstered by Putin’s remark that the daily average is 1500. (The transcript or salient points of Putin’s address are available at en.kremlin.ru under “Results of the Year,” but again I don’t want to risk a virus clicking on that.)

        There was also the “partial mobilization” of somewhat less than 300,000 men after the Fall 2022 Ukrainian offensive.
        (Putin: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_F8N8QLCtGY)
        (BBC: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-67711802)

        So just from the incomplete official numbers around 800,000 have been inducted into the military since the start of the war, which likely doesn’t include the mobilizations in occupied Ukraine or the Wagner Group. (According to Putin contractors aren’t part of any formal agreement to take part in military operations). It also may or may not overlap with “crypto mobilization” efforts that have brought in 20,000 to 40,000 men per month, as assessed by ISW (https://www.understandingwar.org/backgrounder/russian-offensive-campaign-assessment-december-7-2023)

        Of course, not all inductees are going to the Army Ground Forces, but considering that a large proportion of that 600,000 figure for pro-Russian casualties (~1/3) would come from PMCs and Ukrainian puppet forces, it’s reasonable that the regular Russian Army could have incurred (and furnished replacements for) something like 450,000 battle casualties given Putin’s numbers and the open source intelligence mentioned above.

        • There were <190,000 (maybe only 160,000) Russians in the combat zone at the beginning of FEB 2022, + 990,000 Russians who may have served in the combat zone, – 617,000 Russians currently in the combat zone = <373,000 total Russian losses (battle and non-battle) in the combat zone, not including the LPR or DPR, and maybe not Wagner.

          • Where does the 990,000 number come from? I remember seeing a similar number (from a Russian milblogger?), but that was in early Spring this year, so obviously not current anymore.

        • Also, DNR did publish their losses almost to the end of 2022. It was 4,176 killed and 17,379 wounded (a 4.16-to-1 wounded-to-kill ratio). I did re-post their weekly casualty reports in Appendix I of my just released book The Battle for Kyiv.

  2. It looks like Ukrainian Intelligence spokesman Andrii Yusov is the source of the 450,000 figure. (For comparison, on 10 September ISW quoted GUR Maj. Gen. Vadim Skibitskiy as saying there were 420,000 Russians in occupied Ukraine, not counting Rosgvardiya and “other military units and structures.”)

    But Putin’s 617,000 refers to the number “in the zone of military action” (“в зоне боевых дeйствий”). This may or may not correspond to Yusov’s definition. Russian Wikipedia, quoting Soviet/Russian military encyclopedias, states that within the limits of the zone of military action – in addition to the actual combat forces themselves (air, ground, sea, etc.) – there are also their means of reinforcement and support, communications, security & rear defense, supply depots, and so on. (As distinct from the administrative or communications zone.) From that, it’s likely that a number of troops in Russia proper are also being counted.

    I’ll also be sure to pick up your book, Amazon says it’s coming out in January.

      • Why do you suppose the Ukrainians, after calling Putin’s numbers too high, would respond with a lower but still exaggerated figure?

        As for the Ukrainian Armed Forces, the latest numbers I’ve seen are:

        – 1 million “active Ukrainian Defense Forces Personnel,” of whom 800,000 are in the Armed Forces (Rustem Umerov, Former Defense Minister, 10 September 2023)
        – 1.3 million “in the Ukrainian Armed Forces” (Vladislav Seleznev, Former head of General Staff press service, 2nd week of November)
        – 600,000 in the Ground Forces only (Zelenskiy, 12 December)

        Probably the most detailed breakdown I’ve seen was given by Oleksii Reznikov in July 2022: 700,000 in the Armed Forces, 60,000 in the State Border Guards, 90,000 in the National Guard, and 100,000 in the National Police. In total more than a million, if Territorial Defense, State Emergency Service, SBU security, and members of the Anti-Corruption Bureau are also counted. (https://news.yahoo.com/snapshot-ukraine-armed-forces-003000495.html)

        Maybe a bit ironic given the circumstances under which Reznikov himself was sacked.

      • Given Russia’s ongoing mobilization, how do you think the manpower balance has changed between the two sides since the beginning of this year? Do you suppose the correlation of forces is becoming more favorable for them?

        • Yea, I got my notes garbled. I think both sides have between 300,000 – 400,000 forces deployed in the field. If Ukraine had 1.3 million to Russia’s 450,000, this war would be going differently. The fact that the front line really did not move much in 2023 is probably because both armies are roughly equal in size and roughly equal in capability.

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