While Moscow is expected to launch a renewed offensive on its European neighbour next week – in a symbolic act to honour the 12 months since the invasion – the UK’s ministry of defence has shone a bleak light on the human cost of the war.
According to the MoD, there have been between 175,000 and 200,000 Russian casualties in the last year, including between 40,000 and 60,000 deaths.
UK intelligence pointed to Russian president Vladimir Putin’s attempts to bolster up his forces six months ago, by introducing “partial mobilisation”.
It said: “The Russian casualty rate has significantly increased since September 2022, when ‘partial mobilisation’ was imposed.”
This was meant to introduce an extra 300,000 reservists to fight in his war.
At the time, it sparked widespread protests in Russia with more than 1,000 people detained, with many others trying to flee the country.
The MoD also warned at the time that this hastily mobilised group would have a “high attrition rate”.
Now, as it discusses the expected death rate among Russian ranks, the MoD claimed: “By modern standards these figures represent a high ratio of personnel killed compared to those wounded.
“This is almost certainly due to extremely rudimentary medical provision across much of the force.
“Artillery has almost certainly inflicted the majority of Russia’s casualties.”
The MoD also suggested there was a high death rate among the Wagner paramilitary group, which is a private Russian military company made up of mercenaries.
“Wagner PMC forces have deployed large number of convict-recruits,” the MoD said. “These have probably experienced a casualty rate of up to 50%.”
Casualty counts are exceptionally difficult to calculate during conflicts, and the numbers around the Russian injured or dead have varied throughout the war.
But, the Ukrainian defence ministry has similar estimates to the UK’s MoD.
It suggests that around 140,460 personnel have been “eliminated” along with an extra 690 unidentified individuals.
According to Ukraine, Russian soldiers are dying at their fastest rate since the first week of war, with 824 troops dying per day just in February.