Zelensky says more than 23,000 Russian troops have died since invasion’s start



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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in an address on Saturday that more than 23,000 Russian soldiers have died since the start of Russia’s invasion.

“The occupiers are accumulating additional forces for new attacks against our military in the east of the country,” Zelensky said, continuing, “We know that the Russian command is preparing for new big losses. In those units, the personnel of which was almost completely destroyed or significantly weakened in March-April, new people are being recruited. With little motivation. With little combat experience.”

“They just want to get the right amount. So that they can throw these units into the offensive. The Russian command is well aware that thousands more Russian soldiers will be killed and thousands more will be wounded in the coming weeks,” he added.

Zelensky said that a good portion of Russia’s military equipment had also been destroyed, including close to 200 Russian aircraft, over 1,000 Russian tanks and nearly 2,500 armored fighting vehicles.

Though Russia’s estimates of its casualties in Ukraine have generally been lower than those offered by Ukraine or NATO — on the rare occasions when Moscow has given such public estimates at all — a Kremlin spokesperson made a rare acknowledgement earlier this month that Russia had suffered “significant losses of troops.”

In recent days, officials in the U.S. and abroad have detailed Russia’s limited progress in capturing parts of Ukraine and some of its blunders. 

“We would assess that Russian forces are making slow and uneven and, frankly, we would describe it as incremental progress in the Donbas,” a senior U.S. defense official told reporters on Thursday, referring to a region in eastern Ukraine where Moscow began a renewed offensive earlier this month after struggling in the areas around Kyiv.

The U.K.’s Defense Ministry said in a statement the same day that “Russia’s Black Sea Fleet retains the ability to strike Ukrainian and coastal targets,” but it said that Russia had endured “embarrassing losses of the landing ship Saratov and cruiser Moskva.”

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