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2 Feb, 2024 13:41

Russia estimates recent Ukrainian troop losses

Kiev lost 23,000 troops and 3,000 pieces of military equipment last month, Moscow’s defense minister has said
Russia estimates recent Ukrainian troop losses

Ukraine lost more than 23,000 troops in January, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu has said, claiming that Kiev had to deploy reserves to prevent a frontline collapse. In December, the minister revealed estimates that Ukrainian casualties since the start of the conflict with Russia in February 2022 had reached 383,000.

Speaking to top Russian military commanders on Friday, Shoigu stated that after the failure of Ukraine’s counteroffensive – which began in early June but fizzled out in the autumn without any substantial gains – Moscow’s forces now “hold the strategic initiative along the entire line of contact.” 

According to the minister, Russian troops have also been advancing and improving their positions, capturing several settlements in the regions of Donetsk and Kharkov.

In addition to inflicting manpower casualties on Kiev, Moscow’s forces also destroyed more than 3,000 pieces of military equipment in January, including German-supplied Leopard tanks, US-supplied Bradley infantry fighting vehicles, Patriot air defense systems, and HIMARS rocket systems, Shoigu stated.

Faced with these substantial losses, and “to prevent the collapse of the defense, the Ukrainian leadership is throwing its remaining reserves into battle and hastily carrying out the next waves of forced mobilization,” the minister said.

Shoigu also said Moscow continues to launch high-precision strikes on Ukrainian military infrastructure, including production and repair facilities, airfields, field depots, and bases housing Kiev’s troops and foreign mercenaries.

Ukraine announced a general mobilization shortly after the start of the conflict, although the draft campaign has been marred by corruption and draft dodging. Officials in Kiev have been mulling a new mobilization bill to replenish battlefield losses since December, but it has yet to be passed.

Meanwhile, former Ukrainian prosecutor general Yury Lutsenko suggested last month that to attract more potential soldiers, Kiev must admit that it has already lost half a million soldiers in the conflict with Russia. This move, he argued, would signal to the population the seriousness of the situation.

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