Putin has failed to reveal loss of 40,000 troops, says Zelensky
early 40,000 Russian soldiers have been killed since the start of the invasion of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky has told his people as his military stepped up a fightback in a key southern city.
Ukraine’s president said that the Kremlin had failed to tell its citizens about Russian casualties in its so-called “special operation”. But he claimed in his daily video address that the truth was that tens of thousands of Russians had been killed with a similarly large number wounded.
“For four months, the Russian state has not provided to its citizens any information — even censored — about the losses of the occupation contingent,” Mr Zelensky said. “Total silence. Nothing was published or said in numerous interviews and speeches at the political and military levels.
“However, this number is already almost 40,000 — that is how many the Russian army has lost since February 24. And tens of thousands more were wounded and maimed.” Mr Zelensky’s claim is unverified and follows earlier uncorroborated claims by the Ukrainian authorities.
The only figure given by the Russian authorities was in late March when a total of 1,351 fatalities was conceded after several weeks of the war.
Other estimates since then have been significantly greater, including a 15,000 figure cited by the British government in April.
The continued fierce fighting, which has also claimed thousands of Ukrainian lives, suggests that Russian deaths will have risen significantly since then, but establishing a definite total has remained impossible because of the Kremlin’s silence.
Meanwhile, an attack by Ukrainian forces using US high-mobility artillery rocket systems forced the closure of the strategic Antonovsky bridge in the southern city of Kherson, which was captured by Russia early in the conflict but has recently been the target of a Ukrainian counter-attack.
Up to 18 explosions were witnessed or captured on video as Russian air defences failed to down the incoming missiles.
Other unverified TV footage showed what appeared to be a large hole in the bridge caused by the attack. It is part of one of the main Russian routes for moving supplies around Kherson.