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Over 50,000 Russians killed in Ukrainian ‘meat grinder’

The number of Russian military casualties in the ongoing conflict with Ukraine has reportedly exceeded 50,000. This number, revealed by the BBC’s Russian unit in collaboration with independent media group Mediazona and volunteers, showcases a significant increase in casualties during the second year of the conflict, reaching 27,300 Russian soldiers, marking a 25 percent rise from the previous year.

While Russia’s official death toll in September 2022 accounted for just under 6,000 soldiers, the recent research suggests a much higher figure, attributing the escalation to Moscow’s utilization of aggressive tactics, colloquially referred to as “meat grinder” tactics, particularly evident in the increased rate of casualties during large-scale offensives in Donetsk and the battle for Bakhmut. The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) highlights the degradation of battleground tactics into frontal assaults, resulting in spikes in Russian losses.

Furthermore, the analysis indicates that a considerable portion of the deceased fighters lacked prior military experience, drawn from volunteers, civilians, and prisoners, who faced challenges in technical and tactical expertise. Approximately 9,000 prisoners, recruited either through the Wagner mercenary outfit or directly by the Ministry of Defence, perished within two to three months of joining the conflict. It’s acknowledged that the data doesn’t encompass casualties among militia forces in Donetsk and Luhansk, suggesting the actual death toll might surpass 50,000.

Ukraine previously reported 31,000 military casualties, a figure believed to be conservative. In response to the report, the Kremlin declined to disclose official figures, citing laws pertaining to official secrets of Russia’s military operation in Ukraine. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov reiterated the defense ministry’s jurisdiction over military deaths and casualties, emphasizing the confidentiality surrounding such information.

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