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Ukraine’s grim toll: Over 30,000 defenders killed in war with Russia, civic group says 

The Memory Book, a Ukrainian project that tracks and verifies Ukrainian casualties, has used open-source data to compile a database of confirmed dead, missing, and prisoners of war from February 2022 to November 2023.
Ukrainian national flags shot at by Russian invaders but still flying over damaged gravestones of Ukrainian soldiers at the Yatsevo cemetery in Chernihiv after breaking the Russian siege. April 6, 2022. The Russo-Ukrainian War 2014-present. Photo: Stas Yurchenko via FB.
Ukrainian national flags shot at by Russian invaders but still flying over damaged gravestones of Ukrainian soldiers at the Yatsevo cemetery in Chernihiv after breaking the Russian siege. April 6, 2022. The Russo-Ukrainian War 2014-present. Photo: Stas Yurchenko via FB.
Ukraine’s grim toll: Over 30,000 defenders killed in war with Russia, civic group says 

At least 30,000 Ukrainian defenders have been killed as of November 2023, according to the Knyha Pamiyati (Memory Book of the Fallen for Ukraine) civic group.

Activists of the Memory Book civic group have analyzed open-source data on the deaths of Ukrainian soldiers since 24 February 2022. The death estimates included non-combat losses but did not count those who went missing.

The Memory Book’s database has analyzed and processed information about fallen Ukrainian soldiers, law enforcement officers, and volunteers. Activists have processed all reports of the deceased (based on open-source data) from 24 February 2022 to November 2023.

According to the Memory Book, the total number of dead or deceased persons whose information was collected as of early November 2023 and whose date of death was established is more than 24,000.

“Summarizing all the data on combat and non-combat losses of the Defense Forces, we can say that as of the date of publication (14 November 2023), we have 24,500 confirmed dead (deceased) whose names are known, 15,000 missing, and 3,400 prisoners. Obviously, 24,500 names is not the final number of the 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 thousand people,” activists of the Memory Book civic group and the authors of the study on Ukrainian losses, Yaroslav Tynchenko and Herman Shapovalenko, told the Ukrainian magazine Ukrayinskyi Tyzhden (Ukrainian Week).

Based on the proportional ratio of the wounded to the dead (namely, one dead to three wounded), at least 90-100 thousand Ukrainian defenders have been wounded since the beginning of the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine. However, most of these wounded and injured continue to serve or will soon return to their comrades after treatment, Herman Shapovalenko (the coordinator of the Memory Book civic group) told Ukrayinskyi Tyzhden.

The majority of 15,000 missing Ukrainian servicemen (this figure was recently announced by the Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine Ihor Klymenko) are highly likely dead, according to the activists of the Memory Book civic group.

“The experience of 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,” Herman Shapovalenko noted.

The authors of the Memory Book’s study on Ukrainian losses noted that their calculations roughly coincide with periodic statements about the number of casualties made by the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Ukraine’s Armed Forces command, representatives of the Presidential Office of Ukraine and the Ministry of Defense.

For example, Volodymyr Zelenskyy first spoke about combat losses on 25 February 2022, the day after the full-scale Russian invasion started. According to Volodymyr Zelenskyy, 137 Ukrainian soldiers were killed within the first 24 hours of the Russian invasion. On 12 March 2022, while talking to the press, Zelenskyy noted that by that time, about 1,300 Ukrainian soldiers had already been killed.

On 22 August, the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Valerii Zaluzhnyi, said in a speech that about 9,000 Ukrainian soldiers had been killed. On 1 December 2022, Mykhailo Podoliak, an adviser to the head of the Presidential Office of Ukraine, reported 12,500-13,000 Ukrainian casualties.

Throughout 2023, Ukraine’s officials did not give any updates on Ukrainian losses. However, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Mykhilo Podoliak, and some other Ukrainian officials indicated that the Armed Forces of Ukraine lost 30-50 soldiers killed in action every day during this period.

Another official source that the Memory Book studied to gather information about Ukrainian losses is the official list of Ukrainian servicemen who were posthumously awarded state decorations (presidential decrees on posthumous awards are published in the public domain). In Ukraine, as a rule, all military personnel, law enforcement officers, and security officials who died during or as a result of their official duties are nominated for state awards posthumously.

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

Earlier, President Zelensky said that the decision not to share information about the losses of the Ukrainian Armed Forces was made together with the military. However, he emphasized that all figures are recorded, and the official data on Ukrainian losses will be disclosed after the war.

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