More Russians Have Died In Ukraine Than All Russian Wars Since World War II

Dr. E.C. Beuck
Ukrainian Armed Forces in Eastern UkrainePhoto byMinistry of Defense of Ukraine via Wikimedia Commons

According to the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) it is likely that the number of Russian combat deaths in Ukraine has now exceeded the total combined death toll of all wars that Russia (and its previous incarnation of the Soviet Union) has engaged in since World War II. The CSIS latest numbers put those Russians killed or missing at between 60,000 and 70,000. When including injuries, there has been an overall estimate as high as 250,000 over the past year in Ukraine.

To put this is context, the most costly conflicts for Russia beyond Ukraine since World War II include the violence in Chechnya starting in the 1990s, which saw as many as 16,000 casualties, and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, which led to as many as 25,000 casualties. It has been speculated that part of the reason why some many Russian casualties have occurred in Ukraine is due to the military innovation of the Ukrainian military, as well as an environment that has encouraged junior officers to pursue this innovation. Indeed, in contrast to Russia, one of the more recent reports by the Ukrainian government states that roughly 13,000 Ukrainian soldiers have been killed in action over the course of the war.

While the violence continues, and the causalties continue to climb upwards, the European Union has moved forward with a 10th round of sanctions against Russia for the invasion of Ukraine. New restrictions have been levied against military and political figures of Russia, as well as those companies that have been working with the Russian military industry. Additional targets include commanders of the Wagner Group, those involved in the abduction of Ukrainian children, and Iranians who have provided drones to the Russian armed forces have also been targets. Sanctions also restrict exports of the electronic components necessary for a range of Russian weapons, as well as bans on some rare earth minerals, thermal cameras, and electronic circuits.

For his part, President Zelenskyy of Ukraine has applauded the latest sanctions, as well as stated that work is being done to extend the sanctions to Russia’s nuclear sector. Given that President Putin of Russia has signaled a commitment to victory at seemingly any cost in Ukraine, its likely these sanctions will only blunt the Russian efforts and not end them altogether. With that being the case, we can expect casualty numbers for both sides to continue to climb in the months ahead.

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Holding a PhD in Political Science, I write about current events and on political topics related to international relations, international law, conflict both between and within states, and the interactions between technology and politics.

Washington, DC

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