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More Than a Million Ukrainian Soldiers Have Been Killed Since the Start of the SMO
And six million have been wounded as well.
Today is a good day to talk about KIA counts because we just passed the 300 days into the 2 week special military operation milestone. With such a nice, round number to work with, we’ll be able to do some quick mental math and not get bogged down by decimal points.
And no, I don’t think that a million Ukrainian soldiers have been killed. C’mon, man. That was an obvious clickbait ruse to get the delusional 5D’ers to click and read my far more pessimistic forecast.
Let’s look at what the West is saying about kill counts.
Everyone at this point knows that Ursula von der Leyen, the gynecologist-in-chief and head mommy of the EU Commission, which, as far as I can tell is not the EU parliament or the European Council or the Council of Europe, but yet another pan-EU bureaucratic organization that I had never heard of before the war, said that “100k Ukrainian military officers” had been killed since the conflict started. Her statement was subsequently taken down and corrected to state 100k TOTAL CASUALTIES.
The nominally pro-Russia people jumped at this claim and saw it as a brief moment of honesty from the otherwise hated, lying EU kleptocracy. They quickly began scratching their chins and rethinking their assumptions though. “If the EU people are saying that it’s 100k dead, then they’re probably concealing the much-higher death count, which is probably around 200k!” is what they said.
Now, the rule of three is a useful heuristic that we ought to familiarize ourselves with if we haven’t already. Basically, to factor in the number of seriously wounded, you multiply the dead x3 and add it to the KIA to get the total casualty number. But this is a rough heuristic, to be quite honest:
The 3:1 ratio seems to be near the lower end though, so may as well use it. If the maximalist claim is that 200k are dead, then the total casualty rate for the Ukrainian army stands at 800k. The math: 200k X 3 = 600k WIA (+ 200k KIA) = 800k TOTAL CASUALTIES. As best we can tell, the entire Ukrainian army stands at about 600-700k soldiers. Furthermore, at 200k dead, we have to divide the number to find the average deaths by day rate. That comes out to 666 dead Ukrainians a day. For comparison, the average rate of death by day in WWI for America on the Western front was 100. And for WWII it was 200. And only after the wounded who died later and MIA were factored in later is.
I bring this unrelated data point up because of how bloody the fighting was in those wars, even on the Western front. Massive human wave charges, hundreds of tanks, non-stop artillery barrages, the whole shebang. So does the footage that we see coming out of Ukraine resemble the sheer scale of a WWI or II scale conflict? Worth applying this heuristic as well to ground our analysis, I think.
So, the maximalist position, in short: Ukraine is already defeated with 200k dead, and the Russian so-called “attrition warfare” campaign has been a resounding success.
This, of course, raises the question of why Russia continues to retreat and fight a defensive war against an enemy that is already destroyed. The answer to that particular conundrum is that NATO has simply deployed its own troops to fill the ranks of the completely destroyed Ukrainian army. In other words, the Ukrainian army is now a proverbial ship of Theseus with NATO troops in PMC guise or Poles in Ukrainian uniform comprising the rank and file.
So that’s one point of view. Now for the other.
The other conclusion that could have been drawn from Ursula’s comments was that she meant 100k TOTAL CASUALTIES on the Ukrainian side and actually did, in fact, misspeak because she’s a dumb EU bureaucrat who doesn’t know what the hell she is talking about and just reads note cards at a podium for a living.
By applying the rule of 3 in reverse (100 = 3x + x) this comes out to around 25k KIA on the Ukrainian side.
This 100k total casualty figure also happens to be the same number being given by the Pentagon.
Also, we have Zelensky saying in the summer that, after the chaos of the first weeks of the war subsided, the number of Ukrainian soldiers dying every day stood at around 100. His buddy Arestovich then went on to say 100-150 dead a day. If we take Kiev’s word for it, then 100x300 brings us to 30k dead as the lower range and 150x300 = 45k dead as the upper range.
It really is amazing how one little flub on the part of Ursula could lead to such a huge discrepancy and so much confusion.
But, actually, there’s even more disinfo to contend with out there, this time coming from the Kremlin’s side. A hacker group that no one has ever head of claimed to have acquired top secret documents from Kiev’s side that listed the total number of missing soldiers. The number of MIA, according to the document, stood at a staggering 35k. That is, not dead, but missing, soldiers abandoned in the field. I don’t know what the rule is for MIA to KIA, but I would assume that the ratio difference is far larger than WIA to KIA. So for every 1 dead, 3 might be wounded for KIA/MIA. But for every 1 missing, it makes sense that it would be something higher like 10 KIA. I just took a glance at the charts of MIA compared to total losses from other wars to see that it’s usually a much lower number than KIA. So, if Ukrainian MIA is so high, it would stand to reason that their corresponding KIA is far higher.
In other words, the supposed hack would indicate at least 200k dead Ukrainian soldiers if not far more. That is very difficult to believe with a straight face. But, many Russians believe the hack and use it to conclude that more than 200k Ukrainians are dead by using the logic that I outlined above. The Liberal opposition media, for what it’s worth, says that it’s a fake hack. My go to for the Liberal Russian take on the war remains The Insider:
The Insider asked retired SBU Major General Viktor Yagun to comment on the document. In his opinion, the document is a crudely made forgery.
First of all, documents with the heading “tsіlkom taєmno” (“top secret”) are printed on special forms, all of their sheets are numbered. They are processed only on computers that are not connected to networks, are never distributed on electronic media, and cannot be signed with an electronic digital signature. In principle, hackers cannot gain access to such a document, because its electronic copies do not exist.
There should be an outgoing number in the upper left part of the document; on what Mash posted, it's not there. There is also no handwritten signature of the head of the Personnel Center.
The authors of the document, according to General Yagun, have no idea about the command structure of the Ukrainian army. The Ministry of Defense is a civilian governing body, while the General Staff and the Personnel Center are part of a completely different, military structure. The letter from the head of the Personnel Center to the chief of the General Staff on the letterhead of the Ministry of Defense is sheer absurdity, approximately as if internal correspondence in the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs was conducted on letterheads of the Russian Guard.
In response to a request from The Insider to comment on the publication of Mash , the Center for Counteracting Disinformation of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine noted another sign incriminating a fake. As has happened more than once with manufacturers of such products, the text was translated into Ukrainian, but the details were forgotten: in the indication of the date, instead of the Ukrainian preposition “vid”, there is the Russian “from”.
In addition, the Center for Counteracting Disinformation indicates that in exactly the same way, through the Mash Telegram channel with reference to the Anarchist Kombatant hacker group, another fake document was thrown in early November - a letter to Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal , allegedly from Minister of Health Viktor Lyashko stating that that HIV and hepatitis viruses were found in blood received from NATO countries for transfusion.
At this point, you are probably asking what the Russian MoD is saying about the total number of dead Ukrainian soldiers.
Funny enough, the Russian MoD often reports that it has killed anywhere from 100 to 150 Ukrainian soldiers in a given day. This is the most common number that I see popping up. Case in point: they gave a 134 Ukrainian dead figure a couple of days ago. So, again, we’re back in the range of KIA per day that Kiev gave us in the summer. And we already determined that the lower bound is 30k and that the upper bound is 45k. As for the total number of Ukrainian dead provided by the Russian MoD, well, I haven’t seen updated figures in a long time.
Best I could do - take with a huge handful of salt.
The other side of the equation is Russia’s KIA and MIA losses. The pentagon places them at about 90k-100k total casualties.
Kiev says that Russia is losing 50 soldiers a day now in Bakhmut, where Wagner is banging its head against the wall of Ukrainian positions.
Also, we know that Russia was losing significantly more per day in the chaos of the first days of the war. The videos of large groups of POWs being taken lends credence to estimates that up to 400 Russians were dying a day in the initial mad dashes to Kiev from the north and the north-east.
What’s interesting about the 100k casualty figure is that the Pentagon is incentivized to provide us with a maximum number of Russian dead. Makes sense, right? So, reasonably then, 100k Russian TOTAL CASUALTIES is our upper bound. This comes out to about 25k KIA. But I’m not sure if this number factors in the losses of the militias.
And that’s about the best I can do in terms of presenting the various theories out there regarding casualty counts.
It’s also important to keep in mind that:
Kiev’s army has now proven itself to be a near-peer rival to Russia.
Russia was attacking heavily fortified positions head-on for some reason (defending armies have an advantage)
Russia is on the defensive now all along the line except for Bakhmut and the area around it, which is being heavily contested now
This is to say that the picture of the war that some bloggers are selling that Russia is basically just slaughtering aborigines from a distance and achieving 10:1 K/D ratios like some Call of Duty pro using a smurf account to dunk on 14-year-old noobs online is just childish.
There are plenty of videos out there now on Telegram of Russian soldiers, and even politicians like Milonov on the frontlines talking about how Kiev’s army is a difficult opponent. I suppose it’s a question of who you want to believe: armchair 5D’ers or Russians on the frontlines.
If you pressed me to stake out a firm position, I’d say that there are about 30k dead on the Russian side and closer to 45k dead on the Ukrainian side. I’d be willing to go up to 50k though because of all the mercenaries and Western special forces operating in the country that probably won’t ever show up on the official data.
I think I’m being generous with the ratio that I’m giving here. 30:45 is 1.5x in favor of the Russians, but I’m not letting myself go up to 2x because of wishful thinking.
Ultimately, I could be completely wrong if the whole divide by 3 heuristic that we’re all using here doesn’t apply to this war for some reason or another. In Afghanistan, for example, the ratio of wounded to dead was very different. There were somewhere around 9 wounded Americans for every 1 dead. In other words, it was exceedingly hard to kill an American soldier in his full battle-rattle. 100k casualties using Afghanistan metrics would mean only around 10k dead or something close to that (do the math yourselves).
Furthermore, while the Pentagon’s numbers, Ursula’s numbers and Zelensky’s numbers all seem to corroborate the estimate that I came up with, these three separate accountings may not be independent assessments. The Pentagon people, EU people and Kiev people could all just be reading from the same fake script.
But I do feel fairly confident in saying that the 200K+ Ukrainian dead narrative is totally bogus.
Even with optimistic numbers of KIA on the Ukrainian side, this so-called “attrition warfare” campaign will take several years if not a decade to complete before enough Ukrainian soldiers are put in the ground. In other words, this is not only a stupid plan, but an unrealistic one.
Mark my words: either Russia mobilizes another million men and moves quickly or this drags on until the Kremlin is forced to negotiate on unfavorable terms in 2023.
On the other side, NATO will remember the brave Ukrainians who gave their lives to ensure the future of the one-world Liberal Oligarchy though, I’m sure.