Saturday, May 25, 2024

Russia claims Ukraine has lost almost half a million troops since start of war

Ukrainian military losses since February 2022 have reached almost 500,000, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu claimed on Tuesday.

Russian forces have the initiative on the front line and are pushing back their opponents, Shoigu told a ministerial meeting. The pressure prevents Kiev’s troops from holding on to their defensive positions, he added.

The defense minister also addressed America’s expected allocation of over $60 billion in military assistance for Kiev. He noted that the move is intended to “prevent the collapse” of Ukrainian forces, but predicted that the money will not significantly impact the situation on the battlefield, since “most of the funding will go to US military production”.

“The American authorities cynically state that Ukrainians will be dying in the fight with Russia for their interests,” Shoigu stated.

Officials in both Washington and Kiev have argued that paying Ukraine to fight Russia is preferable to the US having to fight Russia directly.

Shoigu hailed Russia’s defense production capacity and flexibility in adapting its military tactics to the combat situation. He said the Defense Ministry will continue long-range attacks on logistics hubs and depots used for supplying Western weapons to Ukraine.

Earlier this month, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky signed into law a radical reform of the mobilization system, meant to boost conscription numbers, which introduces harsh punishments for draft avoidance.

Zelensky stated he considers a proposed mobilization target of 500,000, tabled by Ukraine’s former top general, Valery Zaluzhny, who he dismissed in February, as excessive.

The multi-billion-dollar US aid package was requested by the White House months ago but was only passed by the House of Representatives on Saturday, after Speaker Mike Johnson agreed to it.

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