Russian President Vladimir Putin inadvertently revealed on Monday how many Russian troops may have been killed since Ukraine began its long-anticipated counteroffensive in June.
Putin made the remarks during an interview with Chinese media, claiming that Ukraine’s losses during its counteroffensive are eight times higher than those of Russia.
Ukraine’s counteroffensive is now in its fifth month, with particularly heavy clashes taking place along the front lines in the Donetsk and Zaporizhzhia regions. However, political strategist Radu Hossu has said Russian troops are getting “pulverized” in the ongoing battle for Avdiivka, which is located about 90 kilometers (56 miles) south of Bakhmut.
“Since June 4, [Ukraine’s counteroffensive] has been continuing. So far there are no results, there are only huge losses [for Ukraine],” Putin told the China Media Group in an interview published by Russia’s state news agency Tass.
“The losses are simply huge—approximately one to eight as a ratio,” Putin said.
On October 5, Putin said that Ukraine had lost 90,000 troops during its counteroffensive, which suggests that Russian losses exceed 11,000 military personnel.
Newsweek has been unable to independently verify the figures, and has contacted Russia’s Defense Ministry via email for comment.
The death toll on both sides continues to rise amid Ukraine’s grinding counteroffensive to recapture Russian-occupied territories. According to figures released by the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine on Monday, Moscow lost 860 soldiers over the past 24 hours, bringing the total to 288,630.
Estimates of casualty figures vary, with Kyiv’s figures usually exceeding those of its Western allies.
Russia itself rarely releases figures on troop losses. In September 2022, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said 5,937 Russian troops had been killed in the war in Ukraine since late February 2022.
A joint-investigation by BBC‘s Russian Service and independent Russian news outlet Mediazona on October 13 has so far identified the names of 34,412 Russian military personnel who have died in the war in Ukraine. It states that the actual number of losses is higher than the figures stated in the investigation.
Independent Russian news outlet Mozhem Obyasnit analyzed Russia’s federal budget draft for 2024 to 2026, and found last week that Russia is allocating funding to the families of 102,700 military personnel killed in Ukraine. The figures have not been independently verified by Newsweek.
Ukraine also avoids publishing casualty figures for its forces. However, Western intelligence estimates suggest they are also substantial. In April, a leaked U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency assessment estimated that Kyiv had suffered 124,500 to 131,000 casualties, including 15,500 to 17,500 dead and 109,000 to 113,500 wounded.
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