Over 15,000 Russian soldiers have been confirmed killed in Ukraine since the start of the Kremlin’s invasion, according to an independent tally published on the war's one-year anniversary Friday.
The independent Mediazona news website and the BBC Russian service have been verifying the number of Russian troops killed in Ukraine using publicly available information from media reports, social networks and official statements.
Among the 15,136 dead servicemen identified by the investigation are more than 1,800 officers of the Russian Armed Forces, 199 of whom were in the rank of lieutenant colonel or above. They also included 1,214 reservists drafted during the autumn mobilization campaign to bolster troop numbers in Ukraine.
At least 1,310 Russian fighters killed in Ukraine had been prisoners recruited by the Wagner mercenary group, Mediazona said.
More than 1,000 deaths have been confirmed over the past two weeks alone, Mediazona said, adding that the true death toll in the conflict is believed to be far higher than that established in the research.
The Moscow Times reported this month that there has likely been a sharp uptick in the number of Russian soldiers dying in Ukraine in recent weeks amid Russia’s assault on eastern Ukraine’s Bakhmut, which has been the epicenter of fighting for months.
The independently verified death toll has already surpassed the losses sustained by the Soviet military in its war in Afghanistan, which lasted nearly a decade.
Kyiv claimed Friday that almost 146,000 Russian soldiers had been killed in the war.
Russia has not updated its official death toll since September 2022, when Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said 5,937 troops were killed in Ukraine.