A surprisingly blunt and revealing Friday report in The New York Times cites US officials who estimate that total war casualties in Ukraine among both sides are at nearly 500,000 dead and wounded.
“The number includes as many as 120,000 deaths and 170,000 to 180,000 injured troops,” the Times wrote based on the unnamed officials. “The Russian numbers dwarf the Ukrainian figures, which the officials put at close to 70,000 killed and 100,000 to 120,000 wounded.”
To put these grim and tragic figures in perspective, the United States military involvement in Vietnam over the course of a nearly two-decade period resulted in about 58,000 Americans killed.
Given Kiev doesn’t release official casualty numbers, the US officials cited in the Times report are estimating, but it generally lines up with the immense numbers of Ukrainian losses the Kremlin has presented in evaluating the counteroffensive. But Western sources have consistently said that Russian losses are more staggering.
The NY Times has characterized the now largely stalemated conflict as a war of attrition, with Russia having the manpower and supply lines keep the upper-hand and to far outlast:
Ukraine has around 500,000 troops, including active-duty, reserve and paramilitary troops, according to analysts. By contrast, Russia has almost triple that number, with 1,330,000 active-duty, reserve and paramilitary troops — most of the latter from the Wagner Group.
As for Russia, the West has accused it of habitually undercounting its own casualty rates. Last January, US Chief of the Joint Staff Mark Milley asserted that Russian forces had suffered losses at “significantly well over 100,000”.