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At least 30,000 Ukrainian defenders killed in action - Book of Memory

There are almost 100,000 wounded soldiers, but most of them will soon return to their comrades after treatment. 

At least 30,000 Ukrainian defenders killed in action - Book of Memory
Photo: EPA/UPG

Activists of the Book of Memory for the Fallen for Ukraine community have processed data from open sources on the deaths of Ukrainian soldiers since the beginning of Russia's full-scale invasion. According to these estimates, at least 30,000 Ukrainian defenders died in the war (as of November 2023; including non-combat losses, but not counting those who went missing).

This was written by historian and journalist Yaroslav Tynchenko, Deputy Director for Research at the National Military History Museum of Ukraine, and Herman Shapovalenko, coordinator of the Book of Memory of those who fell for Ukraine project, in an article for the Tyzhden.

"It was on the basis of the electronic resource of this community that the Wall of Remembrance for those who died in the Russian-Ukrainian war in 2014-2021 was created on the walls of St Michael's Golden-Domed Monastery. As of now, the community database has analysed and processed information about fallen soldiers, law enforcement officers, and volunteers for February 2022-August 2023. And we claim that the community has processed absolutely all reports of the dead that have appeared from 24 February 2022 to the present day," the authors write.

The total number of dead or deceased persons whose information was collected as of the beginning of November 2023 and whose date of death was definitely or approximately established is more than 22,000.

"Summing up all the data on combat and non-combat losses of the Defence Forces, we can say that as of the date of publication (14.11.2023), we have 24,500 confirmed dead (deceased) whose names are known, 15,000 missing persons, and 3,400 prisoners. Obviously, 24,500 names is not the final number of dead, but we estimate that it is at least 70%. That is, the real number of those killed (dead) in combat and non-combat conditions will be more than 30,000 people," the article says.

As for the wounded, as already mentioned, their proportional ratio to the dead (deceased) is 1:3 - in the range of 90,000-100,000. However, the vast majority of these wounded and injured continue to serve or will soon return to their comrades after treatment.

The compilers of the statistics also point to the figure of 15,000 missing servicemen, which was recently announced by the Ukrainian Interior Minister Ihor Klymenko.

"Our work on missing persons in 2014-2015 shows that, unfortunately, the vast majority of them are dead. And in many cases, even body fragments will not be found," Tynchenko and Shapovalenko said.

As an example, they cite the missile attack on the 169th Desna Training Centre of the Armed Forces of Ukraine on 17 May 2022. As a result of this shelling, 63 servicemen were killed, 39 were wounded, and 68 went formally missing.

The authors of the study note that their calculations roughly coincide with the periodic statements about the number of deaths made by the President, the Armed Forces command, representatives of the OP and the MoD. For example, Volodymyr Zelenskyy first spoke about combat losses on 25 February, the day after the massive invasion of Russian troops. Then, according to him, 137 soldiers were killed. On 12 March 2022, while speaking to the press, Zelenskyy noted that by that time, about 1,300 soldiers had already been killed. On 22 August, the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Valeriy Zaluzhnyy, said in a speech that about 9,000 Ukrainian servicemen had been killed. And on 1 December 2022, Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to the head of the President's Office, reported 12,500-13,000 casualties.

During 2023, officials did not give specific figures, but Zelenskyy, Podolyak, and some other officials indicated that the Armed Forces lost 30-50 people in deaths every day during this period.

The Book of Memory provides another official list of the dead. These are servicemen who were posthumously awarded state decorations (presidential decrees are published in the public domain). As a rule, all military personnel, law enforcement officers and employees of security agencies who died during or as a result of their official duties are presented for state awards.

Between 28 February 2022 and 12 October 2023, 454 presidential decrees were published on posthumous awards to 14,402 servicemen, law enforcement officers and security officials (not including closed decrees). 

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