The Russian Defense Ministry provided a rare update on the casualties the country’s armed forces have suffered during the ongoing military offensive in Ukraine, on Friday.
“Unfortunately, during the special military operation there have been losses among our comrades-in-arms. To date, 1,351 servicemen have died and 3,825 have been injured,” the deputy head of the Russian General Staff, Colonel General Sergey Rudskoy told a media briefing.
The official did not provide any figures on soldiers who have potentially gone missing in action or been taken prisoner amid the conflict. The Ukrainian side has sustained heavy casualties (around 30,000) over the past month, Rudskoy clarified. According to Russian military estimates, around 14,000 Ukrainian troops have been killed, and a further 16,000 have been injured.
Ukraine’s military has sustained major losses in hardware, with nearly 1,600 tanks and other armored vehicles destroyed, he alleged, adding that the Russian offensive has largely destroyed Kiev’s air and anti-aircraft forces, while its navy has effectively ceased to exist.
The official casualty figures provided by the Russian military differ drastically from the estimates from the Ukrainian side. According to the latest claims by Kiev, around 16,000 Russian soldiers have been killed in the conflict, with hundreds of tanks, armored vehicles, and artillery pieces destroyed.
Kiev, however, remains tight-lipped on its own casualties. The most recent figure was announced by President Volodymyr Zelensky in mid-March, when he said that around 1,300 Ukrainian soldiers had died in combat.
Moscow sent troops into Ukraine in late February, following a seven-year standoff over Kiev’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, and Russia’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. The German- and French-brokered Minsk Protocol was designed to regularize the status of the regions within the Ukrainian state.
Russia has now demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join NATO. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked and has denied claims it was planning to retake the two republics by force.