- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 12, 2023

The Russian military over the past two weeks has suffered its highest rate of casualties since the start of the conflict in Ukraine, British intelligence officials said Sunday, underscoring the rapid loss of personnel and materiel that is confronting Moscow‘s war effort.

Western officials estimate that nearly 200,000 Russian troops have been killed or wounded since the beginning of the war on Feb. 24, 2022.

The early weeks of the war saw the highest casualty rates, particularly around Kyiv, where Russian forces mounted an ill-fated campaign to capture the capital and overthrow the government.

Russia lost scores of troops during that offensive and ultimately retreated. Since then, it has moved the bulk of its forces to eastern Ukraine in and around the disputed Donbas region.

But Russia is seeing massive casualties there, too.

“Over the past two weeks, Russia has likely suffered its highest rate of casualties since the first week of the invasion of Ukraine,” the British Ministry of Defense tweeted Sunday, citing Ukrainian military figures on the number of Russians killed or wounded.

“The Ukrainian General Staff release daily statistics on Russian casualties. Although [Western officials] cannot verify Ukraine‘s methodology, the trends the data illustrate are likely accurate,” British officials tweeted. “The mean average for the last seven days was 824 casualties per day, over four times the rate reported over June-July 2022. Ukraine also continues to suffer a high attrition rate.”

“The uptick in Russian casualties is likely due to a range of factors, including lack of trained personnel, coordination, and resources across the front” lines of fighting in eastern Ukraine, British officials said.

Moscow has mounted a major military personnel call-up to fill its dwindling ranks.

But the Russian military has come under intense criticism — including from some prominent right-wing figures inside Russia — for sending young, poorly trained recruits directly into the fight.

At the same time, Western officials say that the Russian military is likely running low on missiles, drones and other weapons of war. Moscow has increasingly turned to its partners, mainly Iran and North Korea, to help replenish its stockpiles.

• Ben Wolfgang can be reached at bwolfgang@washingtontimes.com.

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