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Destroyed Russian armored vehicles on the outskirts of Kyiv in late March. The British Defense Ministry estimates that Russia has lost over 2,000 armored vehicles.
Credit...Rodrigo Abd/Associated Press
Destroyed Russian armored vehicles on the outskirts of Kyiv in late March. The British Defense Ministry estimates that Russia has lost over 2,000 armored vehicles.

About 15,000 Russian military personnel have been killed since the start of Russia’s war in Ukraine, the British defense secretary, Ben Wallace, told the House of Commons on Monday.

The estimate, based on the British Defense Ministry’s assessments, is on the higher end of the 7,000 to 15,000 range that NATO officials estimated a month ago, but is lower than what the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine reported on Monday: About 21,900 Russian deaths.

The British Defense Ministry also estimates that Russia has lost more than 2,000 armored vehicles — including at least 530 tanks — as well as over 60 helicopters and fighter jets since the start of the war, Mr. Wallace said.

It has been common during the war for Ukrainian estimates of Russian losses to skew high and for Russian estimates to skew low. But the British estimate of Russian deaths is roughly 11 times higher than what Russia last claimed, underscoring just how much the human cost of President Vladimir V. Putin’s war diverges from what Russians have been told.

Russia reported 1,351 total military deaths on March 25 and has not officially updated the toll since. Even a month ago, that figure was already seen by the West and Ukraine as a severe undercount.

In April, when a Kremlin spokesman acknowledged “significant losses of troops,” he did not provide an updated death toll. In theory, the Russian public could never receive one; Mr. Putin decreed in 2015 that military casualties could be classified as military secrets, even during peacetime.


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