KYIV, UKRAINE (AP) – Russian militia commander Wagner said Russian forces had lost more than 20,000 combatants in the protracted Battle of Bakhmut, dead in 15 months of the war in eastern Ukraine. A city that accounted for about 20% of the 50,000 Russian prisoners of war who were drafted to fight in the outbreak.
This figure stands in stark contrast to the widely disputed Russian claim that just over 6,000 soldiers were lost in the war, and the Soviet loss formula for the 1979-1989 war in Afghanistan. It exceeds the estimated value of 15,000. Ukraine has not disclosed the number. Their soldiers have been dead since the full-scale invasion of Russia in February 2022.
Analysts estimate that the nine-month battle for Bahmut alone claimed the lives of tens of thousands of soldiers, including prisoners who reportedly received little training before being sent to the front lines. person is also included.
The Ukrainian military commander in Bakhmut told the Associated Press on Tuesday that Ukrainians plan to expel the Russians from all occupied territories. “But now we don’t have to fight in Bakhmut anymore. We have to encircle and stop them from the flanks,” said Evgen Meshvikin. “Then we should ‘clean up’ it. That’s more appropriate and we’re doing it now.”
A local official said on Wednesday that Russian forces shot down “a large number” of drones in the Belgorod region of southern Russia, a day after the Russian government said it had repelled a cross-border attack from Ukraine into the region.
Belgorod governor Vyacheslav Gladkov said in a telegram that drones were intercepted overnight over the province and on Wednesday another drone was also shot down just outside the local capital Belgorod. He said no one was injured, but that an unspecified administration building, home and car were damaged.
Ukrainian officials did not initially comment.
Regional Governor Gladkov said on Wednesday that he had “a question for the (Russian) Ministry of Defense” after the attack, which reportedly caused concern among locals and embarrassed the Kremlin.
In a question-and-answer session with locals on social media, Gladkov agreed with participants who said that the actions of Russian forces in Belgorod “raised some questions.”
In Moscow, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu promised to respond “quickly and very severely” to such attacks in the future.
Russia announced a day earlier that it had repulsed one of the deadliest cross-border attacks of the war. More than 70 attackers were killed in the 24-hour fighting in the Belgorod region, according to the Ministry of Defense. Russian casualties are not mentioned.
Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said local forces, airstrikes and artillery had routed the attackers.
Officials said the attack injured 12 local civilians and killed an elderly woman during the evacuation.
The details of the incident in a rural area far from the front lines of the nearly 15-month war, about 80 kilometers (45 miles) north of the city of Kharkiv in eastern Ukraine, are unknown.
The Russian government has blamed Ukrainian military saboteurs for the raids that began Monday. Kiev described this as an uprising by Russian partisans against the Kremlin. It was impossible to reconcile the two versions, and it was impossible to say with any certainty who was behind the attack or to identify its target.
The area is a Russian military center with fuel and ammunition depots. The Moscow official did not say how many attackers were involved in the attack, nor did he decline to comment on why it took so long to subdue the attackers.
The Belgorod region, like the neighboring Bryansk region and other border regions, has experienced the sporadic effects of the war that Russia started with its February 2022 invasion of Ukraine.