Russia’s mobilized soldiers who died in the Ukraine war were killed on average within 4.5 months after being enlisted, according to a report published Thursday.
The report was put together by the independent investigative outlet IStories (or Important Stories) and the war monitoring project Conflict Intelligence Team (CIT). For its research, the Russian outlets examined publicly released data related to the deaths of draftees from the “partial mobilization” announced exactly one year ago on Thursday by Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Around 300,000 military personnel were called up in Putin’s mobilization order, and Russia’s high casualty rate in the war has led to a call for another wave of mobilization from some Moscow officials. The Kremlin does not frequently comment on its estimates of troop casualties, but Ukraine’s military on Thursday put the tally of Russian troop losses at 274,470. Newsweek has not been able to independently verify Ukraine’s figures.
According to the findings by IStories and CIT, “more than half of the dead [who were] mobilized lived at the front for less than 5 months.” The outlets also said that “every fifth mobilized person who died did not live even two months” after receiving their military summons.
For the report, IStories and CIT examined approximately 3,000 draftee deaths that have been documented by media reports, as well as official announcements and comments made by relatives of soldiers. The outlets said the true death toll among mobilized Russian troops is likely much higher than what’s been reported.
While the analysis found a wide gap between the youngest (19) and the oldest (62) of the dead mobilized soldiers, more than half of the mobilized troops killed were between the ages of 30 and 45. Nearly a third of those who died were between the ages of 20 and 29, and every 10th mobilized soldier who died was under 25.
The 19-year-old soldier who died was named Anton Getman and came from Russia’s Rostov region. He was reportedly mobilized three months after the end of his military service, and he died in November 2022.
Only four of the mobilized troops who died in Ukraine lasted more than 11 months before being killed, according to IStories and CIT.
Newsweek reached out to IStories and the Russian Ministry of Defense via email for comment.
In its most recent intelligence update, the U.K.’s Ministry of Defense (MOD) noted that Thursday was the one-year anniversary of Putin’s mobilization. The update described how Russian troops in Ukraine are suffering from low morale because they are not receiving adequate breaks from the front lines.
“The absence of regular unit rotations out of combat duty is highly likely one of the most important factors contributing to low Russian morale, and the Russian Army’s failure to conduct higher-level training since the invasion,” the MOD said. “The lack of such training is highly likely contributing to Russia’s difficulties in conducting successful complex offensive operations.”
The IStories and CIT report also took note of Russia’s lack of troop rotations.
“Now many conscripts complain that they have been serving for 11 months and have never been home. Once mobilization begins, they can no longer refuse to participate [in the war] with impunity, and we are seeing a growing level of criminal prosecution for unauthorized abandonment of a unit,” the report said.
“Why aren’t they sent on vacation? They are afraid that if you send 100 people on vacation, only half will return,” the report added.