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Russia Publishes First Estimate of Losses in Ukraine Invasion

Published: March 2, 2022
Troops of pro-Russia separatist states in Ukraine pictured on March 2, 2022 as they ride an armored personnel carrier. (Image: Social media)

The Russian Ministry of Defense on Wednesday, March 2 for the first time gave a number of Russian casualties in the ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

According to the Ministry, 498 Russian soldiers “among our comrades participating in the special military operation” were killed in action since the invasion began on Feb. 24. A total of 1,597 servicemen were injured at the time of the announcement.

The figure claimed by the Kremlin is less than a tenth of the fatalities Ukraine says its armed forces have inflicted in the war. On March 2, a military adviser to Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky said that more than 7,000 Russians died in the six days of fighting, according to Reuters.

The Pentagon has given a count closer to the Russian figure, estimating that the world’s largest country has lost 1,500 to 2,000 of its servicemen so far.


The Ukrainian government says that more than 2,000 civilians have lost their lives as the Russians begin to bombard defending troops holed up in cities and towns using heavy artillery, rockets, and aircraft. The U.N. on Wednesday confirmed that at least 536 noncombatants had been killed, though spokeswoman Liz Throssell admitted that “the real toll is likely to be much higher.”

Russia has said that losses “among Ukrainian nationalists and military personnel” are more than 2,870 killed and 3,700 wounded.

Whatever the true figures, the losses add onto the more than 10,000 deaths among civilians and military personnel sustained since 2014, when Russia annexed the peninsula of Crimea from Ukraine and instigated a separatist movement in the country’s eastern Donbass region.

A second round of peace talks between Russia and Ukraine were scheduled to be held in the evening of March 2 in Belarus, Russia’s ally and a neighbor to both countries. The talks come off of the inconclusive meeting held on Monday, Feb 28 in Gomel, Belarus. There, the Ukrainian side demanded the Russians withdraw from all occupied and annexed territory.

The Kremlin demands that Ukraine give up all aspirations of joining NATO, the U.S.-led alliance originally formed in 1949 to check the might of the Soviet Union. Ukraine and Russia are both former Soviet republics, and have roots in the same Rus’ civilization centered in Kiev, Ukraine’s capital.


According to the Russian defense ministry, on March 2 “operational-tactical and army aviation of the Russian Aerospace Forces carried out a massive air strike on the military infrastructure of Ukraine, hitting 67 objects.”

To date, the Kremlin claims it has destroyed 47 Ukrainian aircraft, including 11 in air-to-air or anti-air combat; 470 tanks and other armored vehicles, and hundreds of artillery pieces. Forty-six combat drones, which have becom ea bane of the invaders, were downed, and the Russians claim to have hit over 1,500 military installations.

The Ukrainians claim that they have destroyed 200 Russian tanks, 800 other armored vehicles, and 60 aircraft, including 30 helicopters and two heavy transport planes. Whether the loss of the latter has occurred is a matter of controversy due to the lack of visual confirmation of wreckage.