How Huge Casualties of the Russian Army Affect the War in Ukraine


As of February 15, according to statistics from the General Staff of the Ukrainian Army, around 140,000 Russian troops have been killed in battle. Calculated based on the 1:3 ratio of deaths and injuries, the Russian army suffered a total of 460,000 casualties, a figure that exceeds the total number of Russian troops before the war. If calculated according to the number of 800 battalion tactical groups after the reform of the Russian army, roughly 575 battalions of the Russian army have been eliminated. Even taking into account the large number of mobilized personnel, including those who went to the front line after recovering from injuries, the number of the Russian battalion tactical groups wiped out by the Ukrainian force has reached more than 100. Precisely because of the huge number, the post-reform Russian army no longer needed tactical battalions. Therefore, the current Russian army has simply restored the large corps system in the period after World War II, with divisions as the basic combat units. This also means that the tactical battalion establishment is tantamount to being abandoned. This kind of super-idealized tactical unit cannot withstand a long-term war.

The Russian army certainly still possesses combat capability despite such heavy casualties. It certainly does. First of all, Russia’s “partial mobilization” has effectively mobilized 350,000 people. Adding other personnel, it is estimated that the Russian army has actually replenished about 500,000 people. This is why the Russian army can still have offensive capabilities despite heavy casualties, though admittedly this later group of troops who went to the front line has lesser combat effectiveness, therefore the number of casualties rises rapidly. All in all, this mainly relies on the number of people to make up for the lack of combat power. In addition, Russia is a huge country after all, and it has considerable human resources that can form a large force. Considering Russia’s potential for war mobilization (the original assessment was based on the calculation without war mobilization, which was Vladimir Putin’s original guarantee), Russia can fully enter the wartime state, and it can mobilize over a million population, which is equivalent to two batches of 500,000 people. If this is the case, this means that Ukraine will face a battlefield impact twice the size of the Russian army in the past.

Is it possible for Russia to conduct a full-scale war mobilization? This is indeed possible. Throughout history, there were cases where the Russian army experienced huge casualties, and when war has affected all, then there will be greater potential for mobilization to take place. For instance, hundreds of thousands of Soviet troops were captured by the Germans in the Battle of Kyiv alone, and even after several major battles where more than 4 million were killed or injured, the Soviet army at that time still maintained its combat effectiveness and even became stronger as it fought. Therefore, there is a possibility of this kind of large-scale mobilization again. That being said, Russia today is different from the past Soviet Union. Now, Russia cannot bear the large-scale casualties of the past Soviet era, and Putin will not allow this to happen. This is because once Russia is reduced to ruins and becomes extremely isolated in the world, winning the war will be of no difference from losing it, which will make Putin’s failure inevitable. With this in mind, it is estimated that Putin may mobilize another batch of 500,000 people to concentrate on exerting pressure on Ukraine, forcing Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy President agreeing to negotiate and accept that Crimea belongs to Russia. Basically, that will be the end of the war.

Judging from the current situation, Ukraine will either not agree to the negotiation, or agree to it. Once it agrees, it has to accept the reality of Crimea. As for Russia, when it enters the post-Putin era, it will become a community of mobs and a source of global crimes.

Chan Kung
Chan Kung
Founder of Anbound Think Tank in 1993, Chan Kung is now ANBOUND Chief Researcher. Chan Kung is one of China’s renowned experts in information analysis. Most of Chan Kung‘s outstanding academic research activities are in economic information analysis, particularly in the area of public policy.


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