Putins troops suffered 200,000 casualties since start of the war

Russian Wagner soldiers appear to attack their commander

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The UK Ministry of Defence said on Friday that Vladimir Putin’s private military forces have suffered between 175-200,000 casualties since the beginning of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Of these, the MoD said it believes approximately 40-60,000 were killed.

They wrote: “Russian Ministry of Defence and private military contractor (PMC) forces have likely suffered 175-200,000 casualties since the start of the invasion of Ukraine. This likely includes approximately 40-60,000 killed.

“The Russian casualty rate has significantly increased since September 2022 when ‘partial mobilisation’ was imposed.

“By modern standards, these figures represent a high ratio of personnel killed compared to those wounded. This is almost certainly due to extremely rudimentary medical provision across much of the force.

“Artillery has almost certainly inflicted the majority of Russia’s casualties.

“Wagner PMC forces have deployed large numbers of convict-recruits. These have probably experienced a casualty rate of up to 50 percent.”

White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby also said the US intelligence community has estimated that more than 30,000 Wagner Group mercenaries have been killed or wounded while fighting in Ukraine on behalf of Russia.

About half of the Wagner Group dead have been killed since December, Kirby said with the US believing about 90 percent of those killed were convicts who Wagner pulled out of prison to join the fight.

The figures come as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky urged Western allies Friday to quicken their military support for Ukraine, warning at a major international security conference that delays would play into Russia’s hand as the invasion approaches its first anniversary.

He said: “There is no alternative to speed, because it’s speed that life depends on.”

Ukraine depends on Western weapons to thwart Russian President Vladimir Putin’s ambition to seize large areas of the country. The military aid has become a test of foreign governments’ resolve in light of increasing financial costs.

About 40 heads of state and government, as well as politicians and security experts from almost 100 countries are due to attend the three-day gathering amid fears that the fighting in Ukraine could invite a new Cold War.

In his plea for more Western weapons, Zelensky compared Ukraine’s struggle against the Russian invasion to the biblical fight between David and Goliath, saying his country had David’s courage but needed help getting the sling.

Zelensky vowed that his country would ultimately prevail over Moscow’s aggression — and even predicted that victory would happen this year. But he warned that Russia “can still destroy many lives.”

“That is why we need to hurry up,” Zelensky said. “We need the speed.”

Zelensky portrays Ukraine as defending Western values of freedom and democracy against tyranny and argues that his country needs to be properly equipped to fend off Russia’s much bigger force. Western countries have sided with him, but at times they have been slow to meet his requests.

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German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who has been one of Ukraine’s main backers, renewed pledges to help but also insisted that Kyiv’s allies must not be hasty.

He said: “For all the pressure to act that there doubtless is, in this decisive question, care must come before rushing, cohesion before solo performances.”

Berlin agreed last month to deliver German-made Leopard battle tanks to Ukraine and to grant other countries permission to do the same. German officials, who faced heavy pressure to send the Leopards, have since indicated that they are disappointed other countries have not offered more armour.

Scholz urged “all who can deliver such battle tanks” to do so. He said Germany will do what it can “to make this decision easier for our partners,” for instance by training Ukrainian soldiers or helping with logistics.

The need to supply Ukraine with billions of dollars’ worth of military aid has sometimes strained allied countries. After receiving Western pledges of tanks and more ammunition, Kyiv is now hoping for fighter jets, but some countries have balked at sending them.

French President Emmanuel Macron endorsed Zelensky’s appeal.

“We must collectively be credible,” Macron told the gathering, “because it’s the only way to make Russia come back to the negotiating table in an acceptable manner and build a sustainable peace. That is: at a time and under conditions to be chosen by Ukrainians.”

For the first time in two decades, conference organisers did not invite Russian officials to Munich. It was the latest snub as Western countries seek to isolate Russia diplomatically over the invasion that began on Feb. 24, 2022.

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