Calculating the number of dead and wounded in the course of a conflict, as the one in Ukraine, is an extremely difficult task. And for several reasons. First of all, the government avoids communicating official numbers so as not to discourage troops and not to give accurate data to the enemy.
In this war, moreover, there has been no shortage of problems related to the recovery of bodies and identification of remains. To date, therefore, various estimates have been produced regarding the total number of dead and wounded in the war in Ukraine, some of them very discordant.
So let us see what might be the most reliable figure, both for the Ukrainian and Russian sides.
Militiamen and civilians: how many killed in the war in Ukraine
Among the most controversial and criticized estimates regarding the exact number of dead and wounded in the war in Ukraine was certainly that of Ursula von der Leyen in early December.
She had, in fact, spoken of “more than 20,000 civilians and 100,000 military officers,”. Figures that later turned out to be inaccurate, but more importantly violated Ukrainian military secrecy.
Von der Leyen’s press office had later commented:
Many thanks to those who pointed out the inaccuracy regarding the figures in an earlier version of this video. The estimate used, from outside sources, was to refer to casualties, i.e. both dead and wounded, and was intended to show the brutality of Russia.
Indeed, the president’s estimate appears to be consistent with data found on statista.com, a website specializing in statistics that has access to databases and official sources, in this case the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.
According to statista.com, since the beginning of the conflict there have reportedly been 7,031 civilian deaths and 11,327 injuries. Thus a figure fairly in line with the 20,000 cited by Von der Leyen.
However, the same Commissariat warns that the actual figures could be even much higher since, as mentioned, recognition and identification procedures can also prove extremely complex at this stage of the war.
Among the civilian casualties, 2,784 were men, 1,875 women and another 1,939 adults whose gender was not identified. As for children, there were 398 casualties.
Different is the situation of military deaths, the calculation of which is made more complicated by censorship. However it seems reliable the estimate released by the chief of the Norwegian Army Staff, Eirik Kristoffersen.
Kristoffersen in fact spoke of 100,000 deaths among the Ukrainian military. Although he later added 30,000 civilian deaths as well, more than triple the UN estimate. The 100,000 figure was also recently confirmed by the New York Times, and is the same as that cited by von der Leyen.
On the Russian front: how many losses from Moscow
Again, it is possible to come across widely varying figures. The latest New York Times estimates speak of 200,000 dead. This is a very high number that would sanction Russian mismanagement of the conflict.
Eirik Kristoffersen had also recently proposed a similar figure. Namely 180,000 for Russian dead and wounded, in each case almost double the Ukrainian losses.
The toll, according to several geopolitologists, would have worsened in recent weeks. Indeed, Moscow would be trying hard to unblock the situation with a significant conquest. Namely the town of Bakhmut, in the Donbass.
For this reason, it would also be sending poorly equipped and poorly trained soldiers to the front lines. Going so far as to record hundreds of dead and wounded per day.
For that matter, as has often been pointed out, the steadily rising death toll would not appear to be a viable deterrent for Vladimir Putin. Who, would have no intention, at least for the moment, to desist from his plans of conquest. And who would indeed be planning a new strategy to continue the war.