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Putin says Ukrainian losses five times higher

Kiev is losing at least 50,000 people a month, the Russian president has told journalists

The Armed Forces of Ukraine are losing at least 50,000 service personnel a month, five times more than the Russian military, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday.

Putin was speaking with personnel of international news agencies on the sidelines of the St Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF).

“According to our estimates, the Ukrainian army loses about 50,000 people every month,” Putin said in response to a question, adding that the ratio of sanitary and irrecoverable casualties was “about 50-50.”

While not specifying the number of Russian casualties, Putin said the number of irrecoverable losses was at least five times less. There are currently 1,348 Russian servicemen held in Ukraine as prisoners of war, while 6,465 Ukrainian servicemen are in Russian captivity, the president revealed.

Ukraine is capable of mobilizing about 30,000 troops a month and “there aren’t very many volunteers,” Putin explained.

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“It doesn’t solve the problem,” the Russian leader said, “All of the people they are able to mobilize go to replace the battlefield losses.”

It is “an open secret” in Ukraine that the push to lower the age of conscription has come from the US, Putin said.

In April, Kiev amended the rules to allow the drafting of 25-year-olds, down from the previous threshold of 27. According to Putin, Washington wants to revise it to 23, “then to 18, or maybe directly to 18,” and has already convinced Ukraine to require 17-year-olds to register for mobilization.

The acute shortage of frontline troops has driven Kiev to consider accepting deserters who have chosen to return to the battlefield, according to an instruction from the State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) to AFU commander-in-chief Aleksandr Syrsky, published on Wednesday.


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