Russia could have lost more troops in Ukraine than between February and September 2022, reports the news outlet Agenstvo, which analyzed the estimates of several sources that monitor the Russian losses.
The list of names of the Russians killed in Ukraine is maintained by the publications Mediazona and the Russian service of the BBC together with a group of volunteers. When mobilization was announced on September 21, there were 6.6 names in the list, and from September 2022 to March 17, 2023, about 10.8 thousand more names were added. The authors of this study believe that the real losses are at least twice as large.
In September 2022, British intelligence spoke of about 25,000 killed and a total of 80,000 losses, including the wounded and captured. By mid-February, London's estimate of those killed had risen to 40,000-60,000, and the U.S. Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) estimates that the death toll could be between 60,000 and 70,000. Western officials and CSIS estimated Russia's total losses (including wounded) as of February at 200,000 to 250,000.
At the beginning of the invasion, according to various estimates, from 100,000 to 190,000 troops had been amassed on the border with Ukraine. In November, the Russian leadership reported on the mobilization of 318,000 people, of which, at the end of 2022, according to Putin, 150,000 were in reserve.
With such significant losses that Russia is now incurring, further mobilization is inevitable, Oleg Ignatov, senior analyst at International Crisis Group, told Agenstvo. In his opinion, after the autumn callup of reservists, Russia closed the holes and was able to resume offensive operations in a limited way. "But now Russia has exhausted its forces so much that it does not even have the strength to continue draining the Ukrainian army. There are no forces even for a localized offensive, and it is necessary to recruit more infantry," Ignatov said. New soldiers are also needed to defend against the Ukrainian counteroffensive.
Ignatov says that Russia now does not have numerical superiority. it has "according to a rough estimate" about 500,000 troops, and Ukraine has about 750,000. Due to the lack of reserves, Russia cannot rotate the troops, and this "leads to exhaustion and deterioration of morale."
According to military expert Pavel Luzin, since the autumn, there was an option to conscript some more troops as part of the incomplete mobilization until the beginning of the spring conscription of 2023, which should start on April 1. But a new wave of mobilization could not have been launched because "the Russian General Staff itself recognized the mechanism of autumn mobilization as inadequate," he told Agenstvo. At the same time, Luzin says, the authorities want to organize a mass recruitment of "volunteers" to compensate for the shortage of forces. Ignatov also told Agentstvo that he believes the Russian authorities "will try to persuade volunteers" to go to war. In January, the Russian Ministry of Defense developed a new set of rules for concluding contracts with "volunteers" and the procedure for their service.
Russia may need a new round of mobilization because it was not possible to assemble the necessary amount of manpower for the front by recruiting inmates in the penal colonies, OSINT analyst Ruslan Leviev said on Michael Nucky's YouTube channel.