Did the Ukrainian Army Kill 1,100 Russians In A Single Day? It’s Certainly Possible

Forbes: Ukrainian forces recently killed 1,090 Russian troops in a single day, the general staff in Kyiv claimed on Saturday.

That’s a staggering—perhaps unbelievable—rate of loss for a deployed army that might include just 200,000 soldiers and marines, in total.

While it’s always wise to be skeptical of any claim that an army makes about its enemy’s losses, there are good reasons to believe the Russians really could bury a thousand troops in a day.

There also are good reasons to believe they can’t sustain such a high casualty rate for much longer.

The fighting in eastern Ukraine’s Donbas region is brutal right now. Russian forces are attacking along several axes and making almost no progress anywhere but along the flanks of the Ukrainian garrison in the ruins of the eastern town of Bakhmut.

In and around settlements such as Vuhledar, repeated Russian assaults have disintegrated. Mired in minefields. Pummeled by artillery. Run over by aggressive Ukrainian tank counterattacks. When a Russian brigade loses dozens of armored vehicles in one failed attack, it might also lose hundreds of soldiers.

1,090 “liquidated” Russian troops, to borrow the Ukrainian general staff’s phrasing, is on the upper boundaries of Russia’s typical daily loss since Russian president Vladimir Putin widened his war on Ukraine in late February 2022.

U.S. officials a few weeks ago estimated Russia’s total casualties—killed and wounded—as “approaching 200,000.” But the analysts at the independent Conflict Intelligence Team believed Russian losses at the time were closer to 270,000. And after a month of hard fighting in Bakhmut, 270,000 might be an undercount.

Assuming a three-to-one ratio of wounded to killed, Russian fatalities in the first year of the wider war could number 68,000, if you believe CIT’s estimate. That’s 200 killed per day, on average.

But the average loss isn’t the median loss. Some days have been far bloodier than the average day is. Some may even have been worse than the day the Ukrainian general staff described on Saturday.

U.S. Army general Mark Milley, the chairmain of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, claimed the Russians lost closer to 1,200 killed around Bakhmut in a single day in mid-February. “That’s Iwo Jima, that’s Shiloh,” Milley said, referring to some of the bloodiest battles in American history.

Battlefield intel underscores the feasibility of a thousand-a-day loss rate. On or around March 14, a Ukrainian soldier found, on the killing fields around Vuhledar, a notebook apparently belonging to a Russian officer.

The notebook seems to provide a daily tally of manpower in a battalion-size assault group. A hundred soldiers attacked Ukrainian positions on March 1, according to the notes. Just 16 came back.

Two days later, 116 Russians attacked. Twenty-three survived. On March 4, 103 soldiers left their bivouac. Just 15 came back. The next day, out of 115 attackers, three returned. If the notes are reliable, that single Russian formation lost 377 troops in the span of five days.