KYIV, Ukraine — As the conflict between Russia and Ukraine continues, the number of casualties continues to rise. Estimates suggest that the war has resulted in a staggering 500,000 wounded or dead people, with Russia believed to have suffered 300,000 casualties, including 120,000 dead. However, the exact numbers are difficult to verify, as Russia is thought to routinely undercount its casualties. The war has also taken a heavy toll on Ukrainian forces, with an estimated 70,000 killed and 100,000 to 120,000 wounded. However, the government remains guarded about its total losses, labeling it a “state secret”.
An investigation by Mediazona and the BBC News Russian service revealed that as of January 19, just over 42,000 deaths had been verified from publicly available sources, but the actual death toll is likely significantly higher. Ukraine’s losses are believed to be even higher, with nearly 25,000 Ukrainian soldiers confirmed killed, but the real figure is estimated to be more than 30,000 dead, and the number of wounded around 100,000.
Russian military casualties are difficult to verify, with reporting on it in Russia being suppressed. The estimated number of Russian soldiers killed in action is believed to be 60,000, with 210,000 wounded. However, official numbers produced by Kyiv and the opposition widely vary, with the Asia Times estimating that Ukrainian casualties may be higher than Russia’s overall.
The Ukrainian armed forces have labeled their war casualties a state secret, with estimates ranging from 70,000 killed to 120,000 wounded. Conservative figures, including those from the Book of Memory Project, suggest Ukraine casualties may not have yet reached that U.S. estimate, or at the very least, continue to lag behind Russian casualties.
The conflict has also taken a heavy toll on civilians, with 28,500 civilian casualties in Ukraine as of November, including 10,000 deaths and 18,500 injured. The actual toll is likely to be far higher than the number of officially confirmed deaths, according to the UN’s Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine.
Obtaining accurate information about military deaths is notoriously difficult, with estimates relying on a combination of intercepted communications, satellite imagery, and troops’ estimates of damage inflicted on the other side. However, both Russia and Ukraine have a vested interest in making the given figures suit their needs, making it difficult to obtain reliable information.