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Russia’s likely death toll in Ukraine revealed in government filing

Russia’s proposed 2024 budget allocates funding to the families of 102,700 military personnel killed in Ukraine, giving insight into Moscow’s likely death toll in Russian President Vladimir Putin‘s war in Ukraine that began in February 2022.

The figures, which have not been independently verified by Newsweek, were reported on Thursday by independent Russian news outlet Mozhem Obyasnit, which analyzed Russia’s federal budget draft for 2024 to 2026. The publication notes that in addition to one-time insurance payments for military personnel killed in Ukraine, relatives also receive monthly compensation of 21,922.12 rubles ($225) from the Social Fund of Russia.

For the 2024 budget, the government allocated 16.335 billion rubles ($168,335,278) to relatives of military personnel who were injured or died. Of this figure, 9.987 billion rubles ($102,917,932) is allocated for monthly payments to the relatives of soldiers who experienced trauma.

The remaining budget—5.798 billion rubles ($59,749,491)—is to be paid to the families of killed military personnel, with 550 million rubles ($5,667,854) set aside to repair homes, if the killed serviceman was previously the breadwinner of the family.

The remaining 5.248 billion rubles ($54,081,637) of the budget, divided by the government’s monthly payment of 21,922.12 rubles ($225), is enough to pay the families of 239,300 killed military personnel, Mozhem Obyasnit reported, noting that the budget includes personnel killed in other conflicts as well as Ukraine.

According to the publication, the government’s expenses more than doubled compared to 2022, and the difference of 2.250 billion rubles ($23,151,125.25), divided by the monthly payment, suggests Russia will need to pay the families of 102,700 military personnel killed in Putin’s war in Ukraine.

“According to the authorities’ forecasts, 100,000 Russian military personnel will die within two years of the [war],” Mozhem Obyasnit reported.

Newsweek has contacted Russia’s Defense Ministry via email for comment.

Russia’s death toll continues to rise amid Ukraine’s grinding counteroffensive to recapture its occupied territories. According to figures released by the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine on Friday, Moscow lost 1,030 soldiers over the past 24 hours, bringing the total to 285,920.

Estimates of casualty figures vary, with Kyiv’s figures usually exceeding those of its Western allies.

Russia itself rarely releases figures on troop losses. In September 2022, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said 5,937 Russian troops had been killed in the war in Ukraine since late February 2022.

A joint investigation by BBC‘s Russian Service and independent Russian news outlet Mediazona on Friday has so far identified the names of 34,412 Russian military personnel who have died in the war in Ukraine. It states that actual number of losses is higher than the figures stated in the investigation.

Ukraine also avoids publishing casualty figures for its own forces. However, Western intelligence estimates suggest they are also substantial. In April, a leaked U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency assessment estimated that Kyiv had suffered 124,500 to 131,000 casualties, including 15,500 to 17,500 dead and 109,000 to 113,500 wounded.

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