Ukraine War: Just How Much Has Putin Lost So Far?

The Russian president seems determined to plough on with the barbaric invasion despite his severely depleted forces.
Russian President Vladimir Putin watches a military parade on Victory Day
Russian President Vladimir Putin watches a military parade on Victory Day
Sputnik Photo Agency via Reuters

Vladimir Putin has endured significant losses in the 10 weeks since he ordered his troops to invade Ukraine in February.

The Russian president is not expected to call off the war any time soon, and vowed on Monday that Russia was going to continue fighting to rid Ukraine of “torturers, death squads and Nazis”.

But, as Putin continues to tout this false justification for a war which is definitely not going to plan, how much has he already lost?

What Russia has lost so far

The Kyiv Independent broke the losses down into these estimates, based on the Ukraine’s Armed Forces as of May 10:

  • 26,000 troops

  • 1,170 tanks

  • 2,808 APV (armed protected vehicles)

  • 519 artillery systems

  • 185 MLRS (multiple launch rocket system)

  • 87 Anti-aircraft warfare

  • 199 planes

  • 158 helicopters

  • 12 boats/cutters

  • 380 UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle)

  • 41 special equipment

  • 19,980 vehicles and fuel tanks

  • 94 cruise missiles

The real numbers may be higher, but the Ukraine Armed Forces have not had confirmation of any additional losses.

These estimates are also much higher than previous suggestions that Russia had lost 15,000 troops since the war started – a stat shared by the defence secretary Ben Wallace on April 25.

Speaking a few weeks ago, he added: “At the start of this conflict Russia had committed over 120 battalion tactical groups, approximately 65% of its entire ground combat strength.

“As of now we assess around over 25% of these have been rendered not combat effective.”

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) also claimed that Putin was hiding the true scale of troop losses from the Russian public.

Without precision military weapons as well, it’s believed that Russian planes, pilots and air to ground weapons have been missing the mark – literally – and obliterated Ukrainian civilians rather than attacking fellow military opponents.

Why has Russia experienced such casualties?

Experts believe Putin misjudged the war from the outset and assumed the Ukrainian population would largely welcome Russia’s invasion.

The MoD explained in its most recent update that Russia’s “underestimation of Ukrainian resistance” has led to “demonstrable operational failings”.

The UK officials also claimed this prevented Putin from announcing “significant military success in Ukraine” during Victory Day, the Russian national holiday which was celebrated on Monday.

The Kremlin was expected to use the symbolic occasion, which remembers the Red Army’s victory over the Nazis in World War 2, to announce further military mobilisation – but it didn’t happen.

The MoD continued: “Russia’s invasion plan is highly likely to have been based on the mistaken assumption that it would encounter limited resistance and would be able to encircle and bypass population centres rapidly.

“This assumption led Russian forces to attempt to carry out the opening phase of the operation with a light, precise approach intended to achieve a rapid victory with minimal cost.

“The miscalculation led to unsustainable losses and a subsequent reduction in Russia’s operational focus.”

So what did Putin say in his latest speech?

The Russian president stopped short of calling for new action from his troops, or further mobilisation. He only announced that extra aid would go to the children of killed or wounded soldiers.

Putin did not announce victory – even in the destroyed Ukrainian city of Mariupol – but equally did not promise the conflict would end any time soon.

He did not threaten further nuclear action and made no announcements about being at war with the west, despite heavily criticising Europe and the US for sending aid to Ukraine in recent weeks.

His speech was actually much more low-key compared to his previous statements related to the war and Russia’s so-called opponents.

The parade in Moscow was also more modest than previous years even though, according to Russian media, 11,000 troops and 131 armoured vehicles took part.

According to the New York Times, Putin might be concerned there is not enough public support for the war efforts to push anything too extreme on the country, as troops run low on morale and the west’s sanctions on Russia come into effect.


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