Almost since the war in Ukraine began, a near-constant story has been the poorer-than-expected performance of the Russian military. In this space and elsewhere, Grid has reported on the staggering toll the war has taken on Russian troops.
Now, we take note of a different toll, this one involving equipment. And it’s a staggering figure as well.
According to the Dutch warfare research group Oryx, Russia has lost 1,450 tanks since the war began, nearly 900 of which have been damaged or destroyed. The rest were abandoned by the Russians, and many of those ultimately have since been captured by the Ukrainians. In the last two months, since the Ukrainian army launched twin counteroffensives in eastern and southern Ukraine, the Russian army has lost an average of nearly 10 tanks a day.
Oryx says its lists of military gear include only “destroyed vehicles and equipment of which photo or videographic evidence is available. Therefore, the amount of equipment destroyed is significantly higher than recorded here.”
An attacking army will often lose more gear than the defenders, given that it must move that equipment over hostile terrain. But like the Russian troop losses, the loss of equipment is both significant and surprising. And multiple reports have shown — no surprise here — that Ukrainians have taken ownership of those tanks left behind and brought them back into battle.
To put the losses in perspective, there are many armies in the world than don’t have 1,000 tanks in their entire arsenal.
The Ukrainians have suffered large-scale equipment losses as well — some 320 tanks destroyed as of Oct. 19. But what that means is that the Ukrainians may have actually gained tanks in this war — the captured Russian versions amounting to more than the number of their own losses.
We offer a more comprehensive set of data points on the war in Ukraine below. Grid originally published this document on March 24. We update it every Thursday to provide a fuller picture of the conflict.
Civilians killed: at least 6,400 (probably thousands more)
On June 7, a Ukrainian official said at least 40,000 Ukrainian civilians had been killed or wounded since the war began. The official offered no breakdown of dead versus wounded civilians. The United Nations’ latest estimate of civilians killed is over 6,400, but it consistently notes the figure is an underestimate, as is its estimate of total casualties — a combination of deaths and injuries — given as over 16,000. (Updated Nov. 9; source, source.)
Ukrainian soldiers killed: 5,500 to 11,000
Top advisers to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy estimated in June that 10,000 Ukrainian soldiers had been killed since the war began. Meanwhile, on Aug. 22, Gen. Valeriy Zaluzhny, Ukraine’s commander-in-chief, said the country had lost about 9,000 troops. In mid-April, U.S. intelligence officials put the number at 5,500 to 11,000 Ukrainian soldiers killed since the invasion. On June 10, an adviser to Zelenskyy said Ukraine was losing as many as 200 soldiers each day. (Updated Aug. 24; source, source, source.)
Russian soldiers killed: 5,937 to over 77,000
From the early days of the war, casualty counts for Russian soldiers have varied widely — depending on the source. Ukraine raised its estimate of Russian soldiers killed in the conflict to more than 77,000 on Wednesday. These numbers have been updated frequently through the Facebook page for the country’s General Staff of the Armed Forces. In its first update on casualties since March, Russia claimed in late September that there had been 5,937 Russian military deaths. Kremlin spokesman Dimitry Peskov said in April that there had been “significant losses of troops, and it’s a huge tragedy for us.”
Russia has also suffered a high rate of casualties among senior officers. Thirteen Russian generals have been killed, according to Ukrainian authorities; the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency puts the figure at between eight and 10. Grid’s Tom Nagorski and Joshua Keating previously reported on the possible explanations for this “inconceivable” toll: poor communications and command-and-control structures within the Russian military. (Updated Nov. 9; source.)
Total displaced Ukrainians: more than 14 million
There are more than 7.8 million Ukrainian refugees currently reported in other European countries. United Nations data indicates more than 14 million Ukrainians have crossed the border since the start of the war, but millions have returned home, largely from Poland, as Nikhil Kumar and Kseniia Lisnycha reported. In early October, the International Organization for Migration’s latest survey of internally displaced Ukrainians found more Ukrainians returning home from within Ukraine, but 6.5 million remained displaced within their own country. (Updated Nov. 9; source; source.)
Internally displaced Ukrainians: more than 6.5 million
An overview of the violence
Global food markets: Wheat prices down 11 percent after an initial spike as of Wednesday, after weeks of fluctuation
Recent Grid coverage
- Ramzan Kadyrov is a top Putin foot soldier. Now he wants a nuclear strike and a ‘great jihad’ against Ukraine. (Nov. 8)
- Russia’s war in Ukraine is driving a rush for renewables — and for coal. Here’s what that means for the planet. (Nov. 1)
- Ksenia Sobchak is a megastar with close ties to Vladimir Putin. Why did she just flee Russia? (Oct. 28)
- Putin speech: Russia won’t use nukes, the West started the war, and its ‘cancel culture’ is like Nazi Germany (Oct. 27)