Espreso. Global

BBC confirms deaths of at least 50,000 Russian troops

18 April, 2024 Thursday
13:41

Russia's military death toll in Ukraine has now passed the 50,000 mark, the BBC can confirm

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BBC reports.

According to the investigation, in the second year of Moscow's aggressive tactics, casualties rose by nearly 25%. Over 27,300 Russian soldiers perished, highlighting the toll of territorial advances. Russia deflects findings, insisting only Moscow's defense ministry can provide data. The term "meat grinder" illustrates Moscow's strategy of relentless troop deployment. The death toll surpasses 50,000, far exceeding Moscow's official acknowledgment, suggesting higher casualties.

The analysis excludes militia deaths in Russian-occupied Donetsk and Luhansk in eastern Ukraine. If included, the Russian death toll would be higher. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov cited laws on state secrets and military operations, deferring casualty information to the Ministry of Defence.

BBC and Mediazona's data reveals the high human cost of Russia's evolving front-line strategies. Ineffective frontal assaults, challenging terrain, and lack of combat power led to minimal gains and significant losses in battles for Vuhledar and Bakhmut. The capture of Avdiivka saw another spike in Russian military casualties.

The BBC estimates that over 40% of Russia's deceased fighters were not affiliated with the military before the invasion. Initially, professional troops executed complex military operations, but many experienced soldiers are now casualties. They've been replaced by individuals with minimal training, including volunteers, civilians, and prisoners. According to defense analyst Samuel Cranny-Evans, these inexperienced fighters are limited in their capabilities and often resort to simpler tactics, such as frontal assaults with artillery support, as they lack the skills of professional soldiers.

Defenсe Ministry adopts Prigozhin's methods

Prison recruits are increasingly vital to the "meat grinder" strategy, but BBC's analysis indicates they are now facing quicker death rates on the front line. Wagner leader Yevgeny Prigozhin started recruiting prisoners in June 2022, forming a private army for Russia. With a reputation for relentless tactics and harsh discipline, Wagner continued recruitment until February 2023. The defense ministry adopted the same policy. The latest analysis focused on 9,000 inmate deaths, revealing those recruited by the ministry survived an average of two months, compared to three months under Wagner. The ministry formed Storm platoons, mostly comprising convicts, treated similarly to Wagner's units and often viewed as expendable. These Storm fighters played a crucial role in capturing Avdiivka, marking a significant victory for Putin since Bakhmut.

When serving with Wagner, prison inmates typically had six-month contracts and would be released if they survived. However, since last September under the defense ministry, enlisted prisoners must fight until death or the war's end. Reports indicate inmates lack proper uniforms, boots, medical supplies, and even functional rifles, with commanders unable or unwilling to replace them. Former prisoners and forum members describe the grim reality of high mortality rates and the constant peril faced on the front lines.



 
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