Russia is suffering unprecedented casualties on the battlefield, according to the UK Ministry of Defence, as Ukraine reported Russia’s deadliest day of the war so far over the weekend.
In its intelligence update on Sunday, the MoD said Moscow’s military has “likely suffered its highest rate of casualties” in the past two weeks, citing casualty statistics released by Ukraine.
Battlefield casualties are difficult to estimate, and Ukrainian figures on Russian losses have sometimes been higher than estimates from Western officials. But while the MoD said it “cannot verify Ukraine’s methodology, the trends the data illustrate are likely accurate”.
According to that data, Russia is suffering an average of more than 800 casualties a day, more than four times the reported rate in June and July last year.
“The uptick in Russian casualties is likely due to a range of factors including lack of trained personnel, coordination, and resources across the front,” the MoD noted. It added that “Ukraine also continues to suffer a high attrition rate.”
On Saturday, Ukraine’s ministry of defence reported that 1,140 Russian fighters had been killed in the previous 24 hours – the highest daily tally of the war so far – bringing its total estimated losses to 136,880 since the conflict began.
While Ukraine provides daily updates, Western officials have only rarely provided casualty estimates. However, the New York Times reported earlier this month that senior US officials believed nearly 200,000 Russians had been killed or wounded.
That echoed an estimate in January from Eirik Kristoffersen, Norway’s defence chief, who said 180,000 Russians may have been killed or wounded compared with around 100,000 Ukrainian servicemen, alongside 30,000 civilian deaths.
However, he added that there was “much uncertainty” around those figures.