LinkedIn | By Dan Rice | 28 Aug 2022
Russians are being killed in massive numbers.
See attached official Ukrainian estimates of Russian casualties. 46,500 Russian soldiers killed in action and 175,000 wounded according to Ukraine.
Nearly as many Russsian casualties in six months of war in Ukraine as the U.S. had in the entire decade-long Vietnam War. More than The Soviet Union lost in 8 years in Afghanistan.
In every war it is difficult to nearly impossible to ‘estimate enemy casualties.’ And it is in the best interests of Ukraine to over-estimate. But I know the Ukrainian leadership team who is making these estimates. I have sat down with them and analyzed how they daily calculate Russia dead. I’ve been on missions and seen Russian vehicles being destroyed. And reviewed all types of battle damage assessments (BDA) and made my own assessment. And I believe the Ukrainian estimates are conservative. They are likely lower than the actual number.
The Russian numbers of tanks, armored personnel carriers and other destroyed equipment is easier to calculate. Because you can count them one by one in areas where they left them and in drone footage.
Whatever the true number of Russian casualties is- it is significant-by western standards. Putin may personally be willing to sacrifice huge casualties…because he’s a psychopath. But his soldiers and his officers might not. At some point individuals and units will refuse.
Putin ordered the military to increase by 137,000 soldiers to over 1,500,000. This is a symbolic act of a desperate leader, and a paper drill. The army will not increase by that number. Few are willing to voluntarily join the Russian military right now. Russia has increased the age for recruits from 40 years old to 65. 65! Russia is emptying the prisons and releasing prisoners for their crimes in exchange for six months in Ukraine. Good luck to the Russian Lieutenant who gets to lead and arm 40 Russian criminals.
The new Russian units coming in have one week of basic training for their new recruits. The new incoming replacement units aren’t allowed to meet or learn from the unit they are replacing because they’ll be demoralized. Entire Russian units are refusing to be re-deployed such as 1,000 soldiers in Kazakhstan who refuse to go to Ukraine.
The front lines are frozen in a WWI artillery duel. This is a war of attrition. Which, unfortunately, favors the much larger Russian force. But the Army with the will to fight is the Ukrainian Army. All the west needs to do is give the Ukrainians more lethal long range artillery.
And they will win.
Dan Rice is the President of Thayer Leadership and a 1988 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He served as an Airborne-Ranger qualified Field Artillery officer, and later voluntarily re-commissioned in the Infantry to serve in Iraq and received the Purple Heart. Dan is an unpaid special advisor to General Valeriy Zaluzhny, Commander-in-Chief of the Ukrainian Armed Forces.