In almost two years of war in Ukraine, tens of thousands of soldiers and civilians have lost their lives. It is impossible to establish the exact number of casualties, as both sides provide little information about their losses, to avoid undermining the morale of the troops and the general public. The United Nations human rights office said in mid-January that it had confirmed the deaths of 10,382 civilians in Ukraine and the wounding of 19,659 others since the Russian invasion, but warned that the real toll is likely higher. The number of civilian casualties increased significantly in December 2023 and January 2024 compared to previous months, reversing the declining trend of early last year. Almost 8,000 deaths in territory controlled by Ukraine and more than 2,000 in areas occupied by Russia. According to an official of the Ukrainian national police, almost 10,000 civilians were killed, along with 7,000 missing and 11,000 wounded. But Ukrainian authorities say thousands more civilians died during the siege of the southern port city of Mariupol in the first months of the war and that at least 25,000 victims were buried in mass graves.
The military of both sides kept the casualty figures hidden: the latest official data dates back to mid-2022 and should therefore be treated with caution. Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu stated in September 2022 that 5,937 Russian soldiers had been killed, and in August 2022, 9,000 Ukrainian soldiers had been killed. Since then all estimates have come from foreign intelligence services. In August 2023, the New York Times quoted US officials estimating Ukraine’s military losses at 70,000 dead and between 100,000 and 120,000 wounded while on the Russian side the deaths would be between 120,000 and 170,000 and 180,000 wounded.
On January 29, in a written response to a parliamentary question, British Armed Forces Minister James Heappey estimated Russian losses at over 350,000 killed and wounded.
On February 8, the Ukrainian army estimated that it had killed or wounded more than 392,000 Russian soldiers since the invasion began. Kiev does not specify whether the toll includes losses among pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine and mercenaries from the Wagner paramilitary group or only among the Russian army.