Kremlin comments on military casualty claims
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has rejected a New York Times report on the scale of Russia’s losses in Ukraine, accusing the paper of unquestionably repeating government talking points.
“This is not a statement by the US administration, this is a newspaper report,” he said. “These days, even the most reputable newspapers do not shun spreading various fakes. Unfortunately, such practices have become increasingly common. This is the way we should treat it.”
On Thursday, The New York Times reported that the Biden administration believes that Russia had lost as many as 75,000 soldiers killed or wounded in action during the Ukraine conflict. As a source, the outlet cited an anonymous legislator that had allegedly seen a classified briefing from the State Department, Department of Defense, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.
Meanwhile, The Times cautioned that casualty estimates for militaries on both sides are highly speculative, noting that figures may differ by tens of thousands.
The last time Russia officially updated its losses was on March 25, when the Defense Ministry reported that 1,351 military personnel had been killed and 3,825 wounded in combat since the beginning of the offensive in Ukraine. In June, the head of the Russian Duma’s Defense Committee, Andrey Kartapolov, claimed that, due to changes in military strategy, the Russian Army has “practically ceased to lose people.”
Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky has conceded that his nation’s armed forces are sustaining heavy losses. Last week, he said that Kiev loses around 30 personnel in combat a day, which is significantly less than in May and June, when the death toll amounted to 100-200 troops a day.
On July 4, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu announced that over the previous two weeks alone, Ukraine had lost almost 5,500 troops, including more than 2,000 killed.
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 Pyotr 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.