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Ukraine Reports Loss of 413 Russian Tanks and 30,000 Soldiers in December

Ukraine has reported substantial losses for Russia in the month of December, including over 400 tanks, 533 artillery systems, and nearly 30,000 soldiers. These figures come as the war between Ukraine and Russia approaches its two-year mark.

Russian Losses in December

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According to Ukraine’s military, Russia lost 413 tanks, 533 artillery systems, and nearly 30,000 soldiers during the month of December. These significant losses are indicative of the ongoing toll on Russia’s land-based military during the protracted conflict.

Total Russian Soldier Losses

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Since launching its full-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022, Moscow’s troops have reportedly lost a staggering 359,230 soldiers. This figure has risen from 330,040 soldiers at the start of December, reflecting a loss of 29,190 fighters in a single month.

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Challenges in Confirming Casualty Figures

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Confirming accurate casualty figures in an ongoing conflict is challenging as both sides tend to keep such data confidential and may exaggerate adversary losses. Marina Miron, a postdoctoral researcher at King’s College London, highlighted the secrecy and potential exaggeration surrounding casualty counts in an interview with Newsweek.

Ukraine’s Strategy

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Ukraine’s strategy appears to be making Russian soldiers’ lives difficult, leaving them with “no safe places,” according to Daniel Rice, a former special adviser to Ukraine’s lead commander, General Valery Zaluzhny.

Use of Cluster Munitions and Long-Range Weapons

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Ukraine’s use of cluster munitions and the targeting of Russian vessels with long-range Western weapons are contributing to the growing Russian casualty count. This has led to entire Russian units being wiped out.

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Increase in Russian Casualties

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The British Defense Ministry reported that the average number of daily Russian casualties in 2023 had increased by nearly 300 compared to the first year of the war. The U.K. government attributed this increase to the degradation of Russia’s forces.

Impact on Russia’s Armored Vehicle Fleet

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Russia’s military has also suffered significant losses in its armored vehicle and tank fleets throughout the course of the war. Although it is challenging to ascertain precise numbers, Western analysts suggest that Ukraine’s estimates are close to the actual count.

Continued Conflict in Avdiivka

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The conflict continues around the Donetsk Oblast industrial town of Avdiivka, where Russia has been focusing its efforts since October. Russia’s attempts to encircle the town have come at a substantial human cost.

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Ukraine’s Resistance and Russian Drones

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Ukraine reported that it had inflicted major losses on Russian troops and repelled 18 Russian attacks in the Avdiivka region within the previous 24 hours. The use of around 100 strike drones daily by Russia was noted.

Russia’s Strikes on Kharkiv

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On Sunday, Russia’s Defense Ministry claimed to have targeted “decision-making centers and military facilities” in Kharkiv, Ukraine’s northeastern region bordering Russia. The strikes were said to have killed members of Kyiv’s intelligence services and military.

Ukraine’s Response to Russian Attacks

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Ukraine has stated that it launched more than 70 drones in response to what it called Russia’s “terrorist attacks on Ukrainian cities and civilians.” Ukrainian authorities maintained that they had only targeted military infrastructure, and civilian casualties were attributed to the “incompetent work of Russian air defense” and falling fragments.

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Intensive Russian Strikes

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky described the Kremlin’s strikes as the most intensive since the start of the war, with close to 160 missiles and strike drones launched at Ukraine. This resulted in casualties and damage to numerous cities and villages.

Continued Attacks on Kharkiv

KYIV, UKRAINE – Feb. 24, 2022: War of Russia against Ukraine. Debris of an a Russian rocket aftermath of an explosion in Kyiv, Ukraine — Photo by palinchak

Following these strikes, Russia launched several waves of attacks on Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city. The attacks included missile strikes, which damaged residential and medical buildings, injuring civilians.

Drones and Air Defense

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Russia employed Iranian-designed Shahed attack drones during the attacks, targeting various settlements in the Kharkiv region with artillery and mortars. Ukraine’s air defenses intercepted some of the drones but noted the use of anti-aircraft missiles.

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Kharkiv’s Response

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Kharkiv’s mayor, Ihor Terekhov, emphasized the city’s resolve in the face of these attacks, stating, “On the eve of the New Year, the Russians want to intimidate our city, but we are not scared.”

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