Russia has probably lost more troops in its three-month invasion of Ukraine than the Soviet Union did during its nine-year war in Afghanistan, The United Kingdom's Ministry of Defence tweeted on Monday.
(1/3) In the first three months of its ‘special military operation’, Russia has likely suffered a similar death toll to that experienced by the Soviet Union during its nine year war in Afghanistan.— Ministry of Defence (@DefenceHQ) May 23, 2022
According to Lester W. Grau and Ali Ahmad Jalali in “The Soviet-Afghan War: Breaking the Hammer & Sickle,” official Soviet casualties totaled 14,453 in the Soviet-Afghan War.
What are Russia's losses?
In comparison, as of this Monday, the UK government estimated that more than 15,000 Russian soldiers have been killed in the invasion of Ukraine, according to HuffPost, although estimates vary by a significant margin depending on the source.
The Ministry cited multiple issues as contributing factors to Russia's heavy losses, including a “combination of poor, low-level tactics, limited air cover, a lack of flexibility, and a command approach which is prepared to reinforce failure and repeat mistakes.”
The ministry suggested that the Russian public could be receptive to the heavy casualties, causing “public dissatisfaction with the war and a willingness to voice it” to increase.