At least 100,000 Russian fighters have been killed or wounded in Ukraine in just the past five months, the White House said on Monday, offering the latest estimate of the vast human toll of President Vladimir V.Putin’s invasion.
John Kirby, a spokesman for the National Security Council, said the figure included 20,000 Russian fighters who had been killed in action.About half of those were mercenaries for the Wagner group, the paramilitary force founded by Yevgeny V.Prigozhin that recruited heavily from Russian prisons to bolster its ranks and carry out a brutal campaign around the eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut.The claims could not be independently verified.
In November, General Mark A.Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, reported that 100,000 fighters on each side had been killed or wounded since the war began in February 2022.US officials believe the losses have grown for Russia as it has sent waves of poorly trained recruits and convicts to the front lines in Ukraine’s east, where months of fighting have engulfed the area around Bakhmut, a city that has been central to Putin’s goal of seizing the Donbas.
While both sides have fought bitterly over Bakhmut, military analysts have suggested that control of the city has more symbolic power than strategic importance.
New York Times News Service