On the Ukrainian side, the losses are catastrophic. They are now approaching 150,000 killed and probably another 300,000 wounded. Ukraine is running out of room at its morgues, and it has had to set up makeshift morgues in places such as hospitals.
In some places, the morgues are overflowing, and the bodies are piled outside in the snow. Rats are starting to eat these bodies, and a public health crisis may be on the horizon. There are many videos of vast Ukrainian cemeteries from the war. Many Poles went to fight as volunteers for Ukraine. Already, Polish losses in this war are 1,200 soldiers.
In contrast, Russia has not suffered nearly as many casualties. The Russian military has lost 9,300 soldiers. The DNR has lost 3,500 and the LDR has lost 1,500. Losses among the Wager forces are hard to come by, but a while ago, a good estimate of losses was 1,200. The total losses for Russia and its allies then are ~15,500. Keep in mind that these figures are somewhat out of date. There may be 30,000 wounded.
As you can see, there is no basis for the claim that Russia has suffered horrific losses in this war. At any rate, you can see that Ukraine loses 10 soldiers for every one Russian soldier. A 10-1 casualty ratio is catastrophic in a war of attrition like this.
There is no evidence for massive Russian losses in Bakhmut or Soledar among Wagner or other Russian forces.
A Ukrainian soldier said Ukraine has lost 30,000 troops in the fight for Soledar. Russian losses in taking Soledar or in the battle for Bakhmut for that matter are not known.
There is also no evidence that the Wagner Group private military corporation engages in suicide charges in either place. In fact, the suicide attacks are a Ukrainian specialty.
The Wagner Group, or the “Musicians” as Russians refer to them, are not mercenaries. They cannot be mercenaries. Look up the definition of mercenary. Mercenaries cannot come from one of the parties to a war. In any war, to be a mercenary, you must come from one of the countries that is not party to the conflict.
There is also no evidence that the leader of Wagner has been promised the salt and gypsum mines in Soledar as a prize for taking the city.
It is not true that the battle for Soledar is still going well for Ukraine. In fact, they have evacuated most of their forces and the ones who refused to surrender were killed, up to 500 in number. There is still fighting on the outskirts of Soledar at the Sil Railroad Station and at Salt Mine #7 where the Ukrainians continue to hold out. An attempted counterattack by Ukrainian forces was stopped by Russia.
There is as yet no good evidence that Wagner forces are putting on Ukrainian uniforms to disguise themselves as Ukrainians.
There is also no good evidence that Wagner uses “enforcer battalions” in the rear who shoot anyone who tries to retreat. However, the Ukrainians have used these “punisher battalions” with SBU intelligence agency officers or one of the Nazi militias such as Azov as enforcers.
In addition, there is no evidence that Wagner forces are required to fight to the death instead of surrendering.
There is no evidence of a rift between Wagner forces and the top Russian military figures.
There is also no evidence that the current shakeup of leadership in the Russian forces is due to internal fighting or people being punished for poor performance. Gerasimov, head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has taken over the operation. Surovikin was removed from heading the operation and is now head of the Air Force. This was not a demotion as Surovikin was already under Gerasimov in the first place.
General Alexey Kim is now deputy chief of the Russian General Staff. He was wounded in Chechnya. He is regarded as a shrewd and clever man. Oleg Salyukov is now the head of the Russian Ground Forces. He is a strict disciplinarian who is probably appointed to whip the operation into shape and ensure cohesive discipline. Instead of what is reported in the West, this realignment probably means that a huge operation, as in an offensive, is coming soon.
Ukraine has lost an incredible amount of soldiers in Bakhmut. Russian losses are not known but are not considered to be as disastrous as Ukrainian losses. Wagner occupies some of the suburbs of Bakhmut around the eastern industrial area. The Ukrainians have set up heavy fortifications every 30 feet, so it is very slow going for the Russians. In addition, Ukraine has 30-50,000 troops in the city.
There is no evidence that the Russian military has performed poorly in this war. Keep in mind that Ukraine has the second biggest and one of the best trained and equipped armies in Europe. Furthermore, Russia is not fighting Ukraine but instead is fighting against all of NATO, as Ukraine gets most NATO’s best weaponry. In addition, intelligence agencies of all the NATO countries, especially the UK and the US, are helping Ukraine. The US helps with satellite imagery. In fact, the Russian military has performed quite well in my opinion.
There is no evidence that the Russian military is poorly equipped, although that has been the case with some of the mobilized units. 300,000 troops were mobilized, of which 200,000 are now at the front, and 100,000 are still undergoing training.
The 300,000 troops were not conscripts a the Western media insists. Nor were they poorly trained. In fact, they are all reservists who have served at least one year in the Russian military. In fact, most of them have served for 3-8 years in the reserves. In Russia, most men have served in the military. Russian men serve one year between ages 18-27. So they all have one year of heavy military training. After that, they are in the reserves until they are in their 50’s.
Hence the Russian military’s reserve forces who could be called into combat at any time include 25 million troops. So the vast majority of the “poorly trained conscripts” are in fact members of the Russian Army Reserves with 3-8 years military training and experience.
It is not true that the Russian army has communications problems.
Problems with logistics are hard to figure out. Generally, logistics works well, however, some of the mobilized units are being sent out under-equipped. For instance, there is an artillery unit that has neither artillery nor artillerymen. They also lack a couple of types of weapons like grenade launchers, and they do not have enough Kamaz trucks.
There have been some problems with the mobilization, but mobilizations always have problems. Russians made a huge fuss about all of these problems (which shows that Russia is not a dictatorship), and most if not all of them have been resolved. However, problems remain. A mobilized group near the front complained recently of a lack of stoves and heaters. In addition they had to dig trenches themselves instead of having engineering units do it.
It is not true that certain ethnicities were mobilized more than others. Some ethnicities do have disproportionate numbers in the military such as Dagestanis, Yakuts, and Tuvans. This is not because Russia hates these minorities and is trying to genocide them.
The actual reason is that these areas are rather poor, and hence military service, as one of the few good-paying jobs, attracts many of the local men. Tuvans are Buddhists and they even have Buddhist monks to lead them in religious ceremonies in the rear. Furthermore, there are Muslim preachers for the Muslim forces and Orthodox priests for the Orthodox forces.