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GalaxiePete, your casualty numbers seem high. Civilian war casualties are more easily tracked than military ones because they can be confirmed by sources on the ground while combatant death tolls are obscured by secrecy, chaos, and misinformation. Civilian casualties are generally higher than those of combatants.

Say what you will about Russia's poor performance in the war, it is probably not the worst performance of all time by some large order of magnitude. Based on the rate of tank losses, it seems to be on the order of WWII performance.

The way I begin estimating any time series is by using either long-term historical trends or closest recent comparisons. Conveniently, the UN measures both current casualties and historical ratios of civilian:combatant casualties. Applying this method of estimation to Ukraine, I get a surprisingly low number. (This can't be right?!)

Let's assume this war is on the order of the extremely high WWII civilian:combatant casualty rate of 3:2 or 67%. Then as of May 23, 2022, I calculate:

(3,930 civilians killed + 4,532 civilians injured) x (1 - 0.67) = 5,670 combatant casualties

Then let's build in a lag to compensate for delays in measurement and reporting. Let's say the casualties are occurring at the same rate, and the UN is a month behind in its reporting. One month of a three-month war is about +30%, so the new estimate is:

5,670 x 1.3 = 6,968 combatant casualties

If you think these numbers are low, consider that war casualties are typically heaviest at the beginnings of wars. Using the multi-year average of WWII deaths as a multiplier does not reflect higher front-end casualty numbers in the first three months of the war. So the 29,500 number that a Russian soldier was intercepted saying on a phone call a month ago may be accurate. If the war extends for a long period, we will likely see the trend revert to the historical mean.

Sources:
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)
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