More than half a million Russian casualties in Ukraine by 2025, UK estimates


Russia will have sustained more than half a million personnel killed and wounded in its invasion of Ukraine by 2025 if casualties continue at the current rate, the UK believes.

The average daily number of the country’s troops injured or dead has risen by almost 300 per day over the course of 2023 compared to last year, according to the latest Defence Intelligence update.

The update said the increase “almost certainly” reflects the degradation of Russia’s forces and its transition to “a lower quality, high quantity mass army since the ‘partial mobilisation’ of reservists in September 2022”.

It will likely take Russia five to 10 years to rebuild a cohort of highly trained and experienced military units, it said.

Defence Secretary Grant Shapps compared the scale of death and injury to the nine-year Soviet-Afghan war, when Russia sustained 70,000 casualties.

“In (Vladimir) Putin’s pointless war, if casualties continue at the current rate through next year, by 2025 Russia will have sustained over half a million personnel killed & wounded over 3 years of war,” he wrote in a post on X, formerly Twitter.

Moscow continued its assault on Ukraine on Friday, launching 122 missiles and dozens of drones across the country in an onslaught described by one air force official as the biggest aerial barrage of the war.

At least 144 people were wounded and an unknown number were buried under rubble in the assault, which damaged a maternity hospital, apartment blocks and schools.

Western officials and analysts recently warned that Russia had limited its cruise missile strikes for months in an apparent effort to build up stockpiles for massive strikes during the winter, hoping to break the Ukrainians’ spirit.

Fighting along the front line is largely bogged down by winter weather after Ukraine’s summer counter-offensive failed to make a significant breakthrough along the 620-mile line of contact.

After the latest Russian assault, shelling continued across eastern and southern Ukraine and in Russia’s border regions.

One man was killed by a missile in a home in Russia’s Belgorod region late on Friday, regional head Vyacheslav Gladkov wrote on social media.

Another four people were injured, including a 10-year-old child, he added.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak joined Mr Shapps in condemning Russian President Mr Putin following Friday’s attack, with Mr Shapps branding the attacks “murderous airstrikes”.

The UK Government said hundreds of British-made air defence missiles were being shipped to Ukraine in a bid to increase its defence capability.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has spent recent weeks urging western allies to provide the country with more air defences to protect itself against such aerial attacks.

It comes as signs of war fatigue strain efforts to keep support in place.

Mr Zelensky said the Kremlin’s forces have used a wide variety of weapons, including ballistic and cruise missiles.

“Today, Russia used nearly every type of weapon in its arsenal,” Mr Zelensky said on X, formerly Twitter, on Friday.

UK military support to Ukraine has seen a total commitment of £4.6 billion, with £2.3 billion set aside up to the end of the financial year.