Wagner Losses, Dead & Injured, Complex Secret Body Counts


Intelligence Research Observatory

Cover Image of dead soldiers thought to be Wagner Group Mercenaries courtesy of CNN


Wagner Losses, Dead & Injured, Complex Secret Body Counts


Research & Analysis by S.A. Cavanagh 


Methodology- OSINT research 

Image of Wagner Cemetery courtesy of BBC News

Background & Analysis

Wagner Group is a well known and prolific Russian private military contractor.  While most would describe Wagner as a mercenary group the names share the same meanings.  Private military contractor is the softer name preferably applied by government public relations bureaus. Wagner kept a relatively non Russian state profile for years, and while it still remains a private corporate military in name, this has since changed. Oligarch Yevgeny Prigozhin, founder of Wagner, has previously accused the defense ministry of “betraying” his fighters – and Russia’s overall war aims – by not providing sufficient ammunition. (Reuters, 2023)  Statements like these make it difficult to deny Wagner is no longer part of the Russian arsenal.  The offensive in Ukraine created an infantry soldier human resources crisis in Russia.  Many military aged males left Russia to avoid becoming conscripts sent to the front in Ukraine to die, in what some claim is an immoral war.  As the conflict in Ukraine progressed training programs and combat equipment supply lines in the billions from the USA and other NATO and Non NATO state countries have overwhelmingly, bolstered Ukraine’s military forces. Some will claim with NATO support the Ukrainian battlefields are equally level.  To backfill the gap in Russian conscripts, Wagner recruits mercenary soldiers to fight for high wages, and perks.  Wagner; usually staffed exclusively with Special Forces Spetsnaz operators, has been decimated on the front lines conducting standard infantry attrition operations. Wagner is bogged down with a logistically challenged conscript military, which is either completely incompetent or intentionally with holding supplies from Wagner as Chief Mercenary Yevgeny Prigozhin proclaims. Wagner losses have been so high there are reports that Russian special forces have been nearly wiped out and there are barely enough Special Forces operators left to train recruits.  An entire generation of spec ops expertise has been lost by Russia’s war in Ukraine.  To fill the human resources gap in Wagner, chief mercenary and owner of Wagner, Yevgeny Prigozhin recruited a significant number of soldiers from Russian prisons. In return for 6 months frontline combat service Wagner prison mercenaries are rewarded with a full pardon and veterans benefits.

Image of Wagner Operator thought to be in Libya Courtesy of BBC News

Where has Wagner Operated?

  • Libya
  • Syria
  • Sudan
  • Central African Republic
  • Madagascar
  • Venezuela
  • Mozambique
  • Mali
  • Belarus*
  • Burkina Faso*
  • Moldova*
  • Nagorno-Karabakh*
  • Serbia*

*Wagner is rumoured to have operated in country, not limited to; spying, espionage, recruiting, conducting pre-post coupe activities, assassinations, training, destabilising security, guarding key infrastructure-oil and natural resources


Video Explainer Wagner Group 

Video courtesy of Al Jazeera & YouTube


Image of chief mercenary and owner of Wagner, Yevgeny Prigozhin at Wagner Cemetery courtesy of Asharq Al-Awsat


Video of Ukraine Forces touring battlefield for Wagner losses, courtesy of YouTube & News 18


How many Wagner Mercenaries have been killed or injured in Ukraine?

*De Faakto Intelligence Caveat-Wagner being a secret arm of the Russian military, numbers of enrolled members are redacted and family members of Wagner soldiers are forbidden from divulging information about the group, it is difficult if not impossible to pin down numbers of Wagner mercenary dead and injured.


Image of chief mercenary and owner of Wagner, Yevgeny Prigozhin in Wagner Morgue courtesy of Sky News


Wagner Dead & Injured Statistics from various Reliable Open Sources 

France 24 News

  • According to, Karen Philippa Larsen, a global security researcher at the Danish Institute for International Studies and one of the few academic experts in the world dedicated to studying the Wagner Group. Larsen claims Wagner Group was paying a steep price for its battleground successes: Larsen estimates that as many as 40,000, or 80 percent, of its fighters in Ukraine have been killed, deserted or surrendered


Wagner Deserter- Former Wagner commander Andrei Medvedev

  • While still fighting with the mercenary group, Medvedev says that he witnessed cases where many soldiers were buried on the spot after being killed in combat and then listed as missing by a commanding officer


*De Faakto Intelligence Analysis adds the caveat, that if Medvedevs’ witness statement is accurate; then how Wagner accounts for dead and injured soldiers will be difficult or impossible to quantify properly


Aljazeera News Russia-Ukraine War

According the United States of America, the White House and the CIA claim,

  • Russia’s Wagner mercenary group has suffered more than 30,000 casualties since Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine last February, with about 9,000 of those fighters killed in action
  • The US estimates that 90 percent of Wagner Group fighters killed in Ukraine since December 2022 were convicts
  • Half of the overall deaths among Wagner mercenaries have occurred since mid-December, as fighting in Ukraine’s eastern city of Bakhmut intensified, according to US intelligence


BBC News

  • UK intelligence officials have estimated that Russian regular forces and Wagner troops may have suffered between 175,000-200,000 casualties – including 40,000-60,000 deaths
  • The high number of deaths was “almost certainly” due to “extremely rudimentary medical provision”, the UK’s defense ministry said


Video of Wagner Trenches courtesy of YouTube


Russia’s Prigozhin renews appeal for more ammunition to seize city of Bakhmut –Reuters News-Reuters Staff (2023) https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/russias-prigozhin-renews-appeal-more-ammunition-seize-city-bakhmut-2023-05-01/

These are the countries where Russia’s shadowy Wagner Group mercenaries operate-Business Insider- Ellen Ioanes (2019) https://www.businessinsider.com/russia-wagner-group-mercenaries-where-operate-2018-4#3-sudan-3

Wagner Group’s bloody year in Ukraine: From murder squad to cannon fodder-France 24 News-Louise Nordstrom (2023) https://www.france24.com/en/europe/20230222-wagner-group-s-bloody-year-in-ukraine-from-murder-squad-to-cannon-fodder

Russia’s Wagner fighters suffer 30,000 casualties in Ukraine: US-Aljazeera- AL JAZEERA AND NEWS AGENCIES (2023) https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2023/2/18/russias-wagner-forces-suffered-30000-casualties-in-ukraine-us

Ukraine War: Over 30,000 Wagner fighters injured or killed in Ukraine, says US-BBC- Phelan Chatterjee (2023) https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-64685428