FACT CHECK: Have 90,000 Russian Troops Been Killed In Ukraine?

Elias Atienza | Fact Check Reporter

A video shared on Facebook purports that approximately 90,000 Russian troops have been killed in Ukraine.

Verdict: Misleading

The Ukrainian government claims to have killed 65,000 Russian troops. Other independent estimates are much lower.

Fact Check:

The Russians have experienced heavy troop and artillery losses since it launched the invasion of Ukraine in February, according to The New York Times. Russia announced a partial mobilization that has seen over 200,000 men drafted, with reports that draftees are already dying in Ukraine with little training, the outlet reported.

The Facebook video, viewed more than 26,000 times, claims that more than 90,000 Russian troops have been “eliminated.” The video’s caption reads, “Finally it’s all over: More than 90.000 Russian troops ELIMINATED in Ukraine!”

There is no evidence Russia has lost such an amount of troops. If the Russians have lost that many, media outlets would have covered it, yet none have. Neither the Russian or the Ukrainian governments have released information about the death of 90,000 Russian troops. (RELATED: Does This Video Show A Russian Fighter Jet Being Shot Down In Ukraine?)

The Ukrainian government has claimed to have killed 65,000 Russian and Russian-aligned troops as of Oct. 17, which is lower than the 90,000 troops claimed in the Facebook video. The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense shared a graphic of total claimed Russian losses on Twitter.

MediaZone —a joint project with BBC News— has verified the deaths of at least 7,000 Russian troops through open-source information. The Pentagon estimated that between 70,000 to 80,000 Russian troops had been killed or wounded as of August, according to CNN. Ben Wallace, the United Kingdom’s Defense Secretary, stated in September that about 25,000 Russian troops had been killed, with total losses (including wounded) being around 80,000.

The claim might have originated from an iStories report that stated 90,000 Russian troops were “irrecoverable losses,” according to Meduza. This, however, does not mean that 90,00o troops were killed. Instead, it covers those who have been killed, died from wounds, went AWOL or were injured and discharged from service.

Russia last updated its casualty list in September, where Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said 5,937 Russian soldiers have been killed, according to Meduza.

Misinformation surrounding the Ukraine-Russia war has been widespread since its start in February. Check Your Fact recently debunked a claim suggesting “hundreds” of German Howitzers had been sent to Ukraine.

Elias Atienza

Fact Check Reporter
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