Some 498 Russian servicemen have been killed and nearly 1,600 wounded during the ongoing attack on Ukraine, Russia’s military officially announced on Wednesday.
The Defense Ministry refuted reports that there have been “countless” casualties, branding the claims as deliberate disinformation originating from Kiev.
According to Russian military estimates, Ukrainian army units and far-right paramilitaries have reportedly lost at least 2,870 soldiers, while a further 3,700 have sustained various wounds. Some 572 Ukrainian servicemen have been taken prisoner, the ministry added.
Russian units involved in the offensive are comprised solely of professional soldiers, the military has said, refuting allegations that the invasion force consisted largely of “conscripts.”
The official casualty figures announced by Moscow differ drastically from the claims voiced by Kiev, which alleged that more than 5,800 Russian soldiers had perished since the invasion began.
Moscow launched the invasion of its neighbor last week, claiming it was the only option left to protect the breakaway republics of Donetsk and Lugansk in the country’s east. The “denazification” and “demilitarization” of Ukraine were among the other expressed goals of the operation.
Kiev has denied harboring plans to re-take the republics by force, branding Russia’s assault unprovoked. Donetsk and Lugansk split from Ukraine in 2014, following the Maidan events that ousted its democratically elected government. Ahead of the invasion, Russia had formally recognized the two republics as independent states.