The Russian army has suffered “significant losses” in the country’s unprovoked war with Ukraine, Dmitry Peskov, a Kremlin spokesman, acknowledged Thursday.
“We have significant losses of troops,” Peskov said during a live interview with Sky News. “It’s a huge tragedy for us.”
During the interview, Sky News journalist Mark Austin pressed Peskov about whether Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine had turned into a “humiliation” for Russia because of the mounting Russian death toll in the six-week war.
“The reason I said it’s not going to plan is you’ve retreated from the capital, President Zelenskyy is still in power, you’ve lost thousands of troops, you’ve lost six generals, hundreds of tanks and other equipment — it’s a humiliation really, isn’t it?” Austin asked Peskov.
Peskov replied: “No, it’s a wrong understanding of what’s going on.”
Austin then followed up, asking: “What is wrong about what I just said?” Peskov responded: “Nearly everything.”
Putin launched Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24, with Russian troops surrounding and shelling several towns across the Eastern European country, including civilian targets.
Despite Ukraine’s armed forces being greatly outnumbered and outgunned by the Russians, the Ukrainians have put up fierce resistance, which has resulted in heavy losses for Russian troops.
Six Russian major generals have reportedly been killed in the war, along with several other senior Russian officers, several outlets, as well as Ukraine, have reported, including Russian state TV, The New York Times, and the Daily Mail.
NATO estimates as many as 40,000 Russian troops have been killed, injured, or captured since the start of the war — which the Center for Strategic and International Studies said was about 25% of its initial attacking force. Jeffrey Edmonds, a US Army veteran and CIA military analyst, told Insider the high casualty rate was likely because of poorly trained Russian troops who weren’t aware they’d be in active combat. He added that morale had been brought down by heavy losses, which has affected the performance of other troops.
“I’ve seen reports about units being destroyed and things of that nature,” Edmonds said of the Russian army. “Typically, we think in the military that if you lose a third of your unit, then you’re combat-ineffective because usually, psychologically, one in three dying or being taken out of the fight, your unit typically can’t function well after that.”
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