Defense minister updates Putin on latest Ukrainian losses
In just two weeks, Ukraine has lost almost 5,500 troops, including over 2,000 killed, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said on Monday while delivering an update on the conflict with Ukraine to President Vladimir Putin.
The minister made his second report to the Russian leader in as many days. On Sunday, he confirmed that Russian and allied forces had assumed full control of the territory that the government of the Lugansk People’s Republic claims as its own, after the capture of the city of Lisichansk. The report, delivered in-person, provided additional details on the outcome of the operation.
According to Shoigu, Ukrainian troops sustained 5,469 casualties over the last two weeks, including 2,218 fatalities. The fighting also cost Kiev a significant amount of hardware, including 12 warplanes, six long-range air defense missile systems, 97 rocket artillery launchers and almost 200 tanks and other armor, the defense minister reported. Ukrainian troops abandoned some of the weapons in Lisichansk, including almost 40 vehicles, he said.
Earlier, Ukrainian officials, including President Volodymyr Zelensky, reported suffering heavy losses in the east, with an average of 200 casualties per day. Kiev claimed its troops were vastly outgunned by Russia and its allies in artillery and urged Western nations to speed up delivery of promised military aid to Ukraine.
Russia sent troops into Ukraine on February 24, citing Kiev’s failure to implement the Minsk agreements, designed to give the regions of Donetsk and Lugansk special status within the Ukrainian state. The protocols, brokered by Germany and France, were first signed in 2014. Former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has since admitted that Kiev’s main goal was to use the ceasefire to buy time and “create powerful armed forces.”
In February 2022, the Kremlin recognized the Donbass republics as independent states and demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join any Western military bloc. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked.