top of page

More Russian Deaths Within First Year Of Ukraine War Than In All of Russian Wars Since WWII Combined

Updated: Mar 17

On February 24, 2022, Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine to further Putin's aspirations of competing with the U.S. as a world super power. One year later, it's safe to say Putin has “already lost in Ukraine", as eloquently summarized by U.S. President Joe Biden. In historical context, Russian deaths in Ukraine surpass all its war fatalities since WWII combined. According to new research from the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), Russia has suffered as many as 250,000 casualties in the last year of warfare.

“While some types of authoritarian regimes are willing to accept high casualties in interstate conflicts, Russian casualty numbers are unprecedented since World War II,” the report found. The report notes that the number of Russian soldiers killed in the first year of the Ukraine war is around two-to-five times the casualty count in nearly 15 years of fighting in Chechnya.

The basic problem for Putin is that Western strategy to weaken Russia is working better than anyone could have expected. As U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin’s comment bluntly stated, “We want to see Russia weakened.” But underlying Austin’s comments is a clear sense of confidence that the strategy is clearly working.

“The Ukrainian military has also performed remarkably well against a much larger and initially better-equipped Russian military,” the study says, suggesting Kyiv’s success is due in part to “military innovation” facilitated by “a military environment that encourages and enables junior officers to seek innovation.”

What has become apparent in the war in Ukraine, especially since Russia gave up its offensive against Kyiv, is that there is a gap between Russia’s grandiose geopolitical objectives and its capacity to deliver. For spatial reference, Russia is about 28 times bigger than Ukraine.

“Ukraine is not going to lose. There will be no loss of Ukraine,” Colin Kahl, the Defense Department’s undersecretary for policy and effectively the No. 3 civilian, told Congress on Tuesday morning. “Vladimir Putin hoped that would happen. It hasn’t happened. It's not going to happen.”

“Ukraine continues to maintain most of its territory. They’re fighting tenaciously. The Russians do not have the capacity, in my view, to take over Ukraine,” Kahl said in response to questioning from Michigan Republican Lisa McClain.

There is now no doubt that Putin failed in his initial goals, as Kyiv is still standing, Ukrainians are determined to keep fighting, and the West has so far stayed resolute in its support of Ukraine. Moreover, if Putin had hoped to weaken NATO, the very opposite has happened, with Finland and Sweden on the cusp of joining the transatlantic military alliance.

Ukrainian troops have won a major victory against Russia, taking control of the western Kherson region, including Kherson city. The latest Ukrainian advance came after months of successful attacks on Russian positions on the west side of the Dnipro River, aimed at disrupting Russian supply lines. Ukrainian targets included bridges across the river, as well as the roads, pontoons, barges and landing areas. “The specter of limitless Russian manpower is a myth,” the independent Institute for the Study of War concludes in an analysis note this week.

On Monday, February 27, 2023, U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen made a surprise visit to Ukraine, in which she reaffirmed America's support for the country and announced $1.25 billion in economic aid for things like schools and hospitals.The money is the first part of a new $9.9 billion package of civilian aid for Ukraine as its war with Russia enters a second year. U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said, "Our funds help pay for emergency personnel: from firefighters who answer the call when missiles strike to medical professionals who treat sick and wounded civilians."

While Putin's foreign policies have proven to be a complete and utter failure, Putin's latest homogeneous driven domestic policy proves to be equally as a failure. For example, on February 28, Putin signed a law that prohibits government officials from using most foreign words during their official duties, with the exception of foreign words that do not have widely-used corresponding equivalents in Russian.

Adding insult of Russians' intelligence to unprecedented Russian death, Putin banned the spreading of “false information” about the war — including calling it a war. He also blocked Facebook and Twitter, as well as a number of Western news outlets including the BBC, making it even harder for Russians to get true information. Predictably, among state-sponsored media in Russia, the war is downplayed and cast as a peacekeeping mission designed to liberate Ukraine from Nazis.

All of above is having a devastating impact on Russia’s economy. The Russian Central Bank survey reveals expectations of soaring inflation, economic contraction, and no growth. Furthermore, Russia is facing a massive brain drain as up to 200,000 Russians may have left the country by the second week of March alone. It has also suffered substantial damage to its burgeoning tech industry, as it lost access to some overseas markets and may lose up to 170,000 tech workers.

The biggest surprise, however, is the performance of Ukraine on the battlefield, the ineptitude of Russia’s military, and the game-changing efficacy Western security assistance. Russia’s forces have suffered crippling losses.

bottom of page