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Comparing Russian, Ukrainian forces two years into war

Comparing Russian, Ukrainian forces two years into war


Military operations in Ukraine have cost Russia up to $211 billion, and the country has lost $10 billion in canceled or paused arms sales, according to the Pentagon. At least 20 medium to large Russian naval vessels have been sunk in the Black Sea, while 315,000 Russian soldiers have either been killed or wounded, the department has found.

Indeed, both countries have experienced heavy losses in life and materiel during the war, which began when Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022. There’s now a growing sense this conflict has reached a stalemate, and that it will likely continue through the year, according to a report released this month by the International Institute for Strategic Studies.

The London-based think tank also recently updated its Military Balance+ database, which assesses the defense capabilities of militaries around the world. The following compares select system types and data points between Russia and Ukraine, based on data from IISS, with footnotes at the bottom of this article. The data is current as of November, meaning it accounts for nearly two years of war.

  • Data as of November 2023.
  • Armored Fighting Vehicles are armored combat vehicles with a combat weight of at least 6 metric tons.
  • Artillery includes guns, howitzers, rocket launchers and mortars with a caliber greater than 100mm for artillery pieces and 80mm and above for mortars, capable of engaging ground targets with indirect fire.
  • Surface-to-Surface Missile Launchers are launch vehicles for transporting and firing surface-to-surface ballistic and cruise missiles.
  • Air Defense includes guns, directed-energy weapons and surface-to-air missile launchers designed to engage fixed-wing, rotary-wing and unmanned aircraft.

Noah Robertson is the Pentagon reporter at Defense News. He previously covered national security for the Christian Science Monitor. He holds a bachelor’s degree in English and government from the College of William & Mary in his hometown of Williamsburg, Virginia.

Chris Martin is the managing editor for Defense News. His interests include Sino-U.S. affairs, cybersecurity, foreign policy and his yorkie Willow.


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