New Russian offensive in Ukraine “would cost more lives than USSR in Afghanistan”



Ever more commentators are suggesting that a new round of Russian military aggression in Ukraine is likely in order to secure a Russian-controlled land corridor to Crimea, an action that some analysts say would cost Russia more killed and wounded than it has suffered in any conflict since World War II.

Drawing on the description of the Russian and Ukrainian order of battle offered by Viktor Shevchuk in his article for “Russky yevrey,” Konstantin Zelfanov says that “the forces of the Russian army are insufficient for a breakthrough and creating a corridor to Crimea and thus such plans are hardly likely to be realized in the near term.” That has led to some loose talk about a nuclear action.

Shevchuk’s article is available here, and Zelfanov’s even more detailed order of battle can be found here.

Even if the losses of the Russian army and the Ukrainian army are equal, Zelfanov suggests, “the Russian army in order to establish a corridor would lose about 15,000 killed and wounded before the losses of the Ukrainian forces would be reduced to 60 percent” of their current capacity.

And that, he continues, “is without taking into account the significant portion of the forces of the Russian army” which would be in places where Ukrainian aviation and anti-aircraft forces would enjoy superiority, something that would increase Russian losses even more during such a campaign.

“In this situation, potentially, the losses would be about 25-30,000 Russian soldiers and mercenaries killed and wounded in the first week of military operations. BUT” even more significantly, Zulfanov adds, “during this week the Ukrainian army would already be able to reform and throw additional reserve forces” against the Russian advance.

That would increase Russian losses still further. And consequently, “the Russian amry just in the course of the first two weeks would lose about 35,000 killed.” In sum, Russian forces would lose hundreds of lives each day the conflict continued.

Thus, Zulfanov concludes, the result would be that “the Russian operation for breaking through and creating a land corridor to Crimea and also expanding the territory seized by the militants in the Donbas would cost more than 40,000 killed and wounded Russian military personnel, more than 120 military planes, and about 700 pieces of heavy military equipment.”

And these losses would occur “IN THE COURSE OF A SINGLE MONTH of military actions” in Ukraine and total “more than the USSR lost in Afghanistan over ten years of military actions there” and thus, together with the losses Russia has already taken in Ukraine, they would be “more than the losses of the USSR in any military conflict” since 1945.

Such prospects should certainly give some in Moscow pause given that such a campaign would mean that “tens of thousands of families in Russia would remain without husbands, fathers, and children, [that] the streets of [Russian] cities would be filled by legless and armless invalids,” and that many Russians would be told that their relatives had “died in exercises” or from “heart attacks” to try to conceal the disaster.

“Any thoughtful person, looking at these figures,” Zulfanov says, will understand that an attempt to expand military actions and intensify aggression will lead to the collapse of the Russian state, its economy and so on.”


Zulfanov’s analysis is likely far too optimistic with regard to what the Ukrainian military could do if and when Putin orders his army to resume its invasion. But at the same time, he is certainly correct that the Kremlin has to be thinking about the losses Russia would suffer – and even more about how Russians might react if they had to pay such a price for Putin’s policies.


Dear readers! Since you’ ve made it to this point, we have a favor to ask. Russia’s hybrid war against Ukraine is ongoing, but major news agencies have gone away, which is why it's extra important to provide news about Ukraine in English. We are a small independent journalist team on a shoestring budget, have no political or state affiliation, and depend on our readers to keep going (using the chanсe - a big thank you to our generous supporters, we couldn't make it without you.)  If you like what you see, please help keep us online with a donation

Tags: ,


  1. Avatar Michel Cloarec says:

    A dead russian soldier give 400$ to the family. This is peanuts for russia. The number of dead russians is of no importance for the leaders. It has never been before !

    1. Avatar Kruton says:

      What cheapskates!

  2. Avatar jimhenley says:

    While I applaud the Ukrainian soldier….I have not seen the military act in a cohesive manner in a large scale battle… the last battle before the truce….the Ukrainian forces were overwhelmed by superior weapons and tactics.

  3. Avatar 55North says:

    Recent reports suggest that news of actual deaths by Russians in Ukraine so that their living ‘wage’ can be stolen by their leaders, week after week.

  4. Avatar Dirk Smith says:

    If not for quisling Yanukovych draining and bleeding the Ukrainian military for his fascist buddies in Moscow, the Russians would have been thrown out of Crimea and Donbas already. The Ukrainian has a purpose to fight; their country has been invaded whereas the muscovite soldier is purposely deceived by it’s fascist oligarchy.

  5. Avatar Kruton says:

    Obliterate the Bolshevik vermin! Counterattack!!

  6. Avatar Mick Servian says:

    This would create more russian losses even before….then more russian losses…..and even more russian losses…before Ukraine wins entirely…then more russian losses. Lol
    If Russia wanted to invade Ukraine they would have done so already.
    Nice thing in dehumanizing the Ukrainians that don’t want a bar of Kiev anymore.