Watch: Russian Official Admits Losing “Significant” Number Of Soldiers On Live TV – Russia admitted for the first time this week that it had lost a “significant” number of soldiers during its invasion of Ukraine, but Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov stopped short of giving exact numbers. It comes as Russian troops continue to withdraw to the east of the country where they are expected to focus heavily on “liberating” the Donbas region from Ukrainian control.
What Did Dmitry Peskov Say?
Speaking to British news channel Sky News, Peskov said that Russia has seen “significant losses of troops” and admitted that it is a “huge tragedy.”
Peskov made the comments in a live broadcast interview and told reporter Mark Austin that the world is living in “days of fakes and lies,” arguing that footage of atrocities committed by Russian troops in the suburbs of Kiev over the last week is not real.
“We deny the Russian military can have something in common with these atrocities and that dead bodies were shown on the streets of Bucha,” he said, referencing footage showing dead Ukrainian civilians lying in the streets of Bucha, a Kiev suburb. Peskov claimed that it was a “well-staged insinuation.”
When pushed on just how many Russian soldiers have died, Peskov said that he would not answer the question until the figures were “double confirmed.”
How Many Soldiers Has Russia Really Lost?
Russia’s latest estimate of soldier fatalities came at the end of March when the Kremlin claimed that 1,351 troops had been killed. It was a revision of a figure previously given on March 2, when the Russian government said that 498 soldiers had been killed.
However, NATO intelligence officials and analysts released their own figures in late March, estimating that somewhere between 7,000 and 15,000 troops had been killed.
One NATO official, however, told NBC on the condition of anonymity that as many as 40,000 Russian troops could have been killed, injured, captured, or disappeared since the invasion of Ukraine began on February 24.
Knowing just how many troops have died, however, is proving increasingly difficult as Russia continues its propaganda campaign and silencing media outlets. On March 21, Russian tabloid newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda briefly reported that 9,861 Russian soldiers had died and 16,153 wounded – but the report quickly disappeared from the website. Only days later, the Kremlin revealed its own, substantially lower figures.
Jack Buckby is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.