Russia's losses in Ukraine include many elite troops that take years and
millions of dollars to train, BBC investigation finds
Tue, April 12, 2022, 4:09 AM·2 min read
Russian soldiers are seen on a tank in Volnovakha district in the
pro-Russian separatists-controlled Donetsk, in Ukraine on March 26, 2022.
Russian soldiers on a tank in Donetsk, Ukraine on March 26, 2022.Sefa
Karacan/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
A BBC investigation found that the Russian army has lost numerous elite
troops in Ukraine.
Some officers lost take over a decade, and between thousands and
millions of dollars to train.
Estimates of Russian troop losses vary. Around 20% of those identified
by the BBC were officers.
Russia has lost some of its most specialized and costly troops in its
invasion of Ukraine, according to a BBC investigation.
Of the 1,083 Russian fighters identified by the BBC 's Russian-language
operation, around a fifth — 217 — were officers ranking from junior
lieutenant to general, the network said.
The BBC said that among those troops were some of Russia's most
expensive and difficult to replace.
The higher-ranking losses include 10 colonels, 20 lieutenant colonels,
31 majors and 155 junior officers, the BBC reported. To illustrate the
cost to Russia, it said:
An infantry lieutenant costs $10,000 to train, over a five-year period.
Other officers can cost up to $60,000 each to train.
A top fighter pilot can cost up to $14 million to train over a period of
Figures like these suggest that even Russia's best troops are being
killed in Ukraine, not just low-ranking soldiers who are easier to muster.
The BBC can track only a minority of troops killed in Russia. The
network previously reported that Russia is suppressing news of
casualties in the country, and defense officials give only sporadic
updates. Western intelligence sources have said the true loses are much
Members of elite units have also been killed, the BBC investigation
found: 15 men from the special forces of the GRU intelligence agency and
10 special-forces troops of Rosgvardia, the Russian national guard.
It also noted that three of those killed had earned maroon berets
marking them out as Russia's most elite troops.
The BBC said that officers and elite fighters may be over-represented in
its sample because their elevated status means their bodies are
retrieved more urgently and their lives celebrated more widely.
A fifth of Russia’s war dead are ‘officers sent to command Putin’s
troops in Ukraine’
Western officials say the Kremlin has suffered ‘extremely high
casualties’ during its invasion of Ukraine