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50K Russian Soldiers Confirmed Killed in Ukraine – Independent Tally

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu inspects the progress of training of mobilised citizens. Russian Defense Ministry

Over 50,000 Russian soldiers have been confirmed killed in Ukraine since the start of the Kremlin’s invasion over two years ago, according to an independent tally conducted by the BBC's Russian service and the independent Mediazona news website.

The two outlets have been verifying the number of Russian troops killed through open-source information including official statements, newspaper obituaries and social media posts.

More than 27,300 Russian soldiers were killed in 2023, the second year of fighting, the journalists said.

The real number of Russian war casualties is likely much higher, the journalists said, adding that their analysis does not include militia in the Russian-occupied Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

According to the report, at least 9,000 Russian prisoners have been confirmed killed in combat after being recruited to fight.

The BBC said that under the Wagner mercenary group, which started recruiting fighters from Russian prisons shortly after the invasion, those former prisoners had survived for an average of three months.

Those recruited by the Defense Ministry once it took over prison recruitment in early 2023 only lived for an average of two months.

According to Mediazona, at least 6,000 mobilized soldiers who were called up in the September 2022 mobilization campaign have been confirmed killed.

Among the 50,000 servicemen identified by the outlets are more than 3,300 officers of the Russian Armed Forces, 390 of whom were in the rank of lieutenant colonel or higher. 

The Defense Ministry last updated its official combat death toll for the war in Ukraine in September 2022, placing the figure at under 6,000 killed.

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