Russia’s staggering losses over 3 weeks of Ukraine fighting already exceed entire wars

  • 7,000 Russian troops have been killed in battle, according to a US intelligence estimate.

  • Russian troop deaths are already more than the number of American troops killed in either the Iraq or Afghanistan wars.

  • At this rate, Russia is suffering what could soon be unsustainable losses.

In the three weeks since Russia launched its war against Ukraine, the fighting has taken a heavy toll on both sides and the civilians trapped in cities like Kharkiv and Mariupol, where authorities are trying to rescue 1,300 people who had sheltered in a theater that was attacked .

The toll also appears to be huge and mounting for Russia’s military.

Seven thousand Russian troops have been killed in battle so far, according to a US intelligence estimate reported by the New York Times, and that’s a conservative estimate. Four Russian generals have died and the Times reported on March 16 that between 14,000 and 21,000 Russians troops had been injured.

By this estimate, Russian military deaths are now much higher than the number of American troops killed in either the Iraq or Afghanistan wars, at 4,825 and 3,576 respectively.

A chart depicting Russian casualties in the 2022 Russia-Ukraine conflict to casualties in Iwo Jima, the Iraq War, the Afghanistan War, and Pearl Harbor.

Alex Ford/Insider

The Russian casualties appear to be of a scale similar to those at Iwo Jima — one of the bloodiest battles in Marine Corps history – where about 6,852 US troops died and around 19,000 were injured in five weeks of fighting against an entrenched Japanese force, which sustained an estimated 18,000 dead and missing.

If Russian forces were to continue losing troops at this rate, in a year about 121,000 Russian troops would be dead, with injured likely to be three or four times higher — suggesting Russia’s offensive must break the Ukrainian resistance or suffer unsustainable losses. That toll, for example, would be higher than American casualties during the Korean War, where 36,576 Americans died over the course of three years.

Ukraine’s military has also suffered heavy losses, likely to be much higher than the 1,300 troops Ukraine has confirmed as killed.

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