The Kremlin has found a sneaky way to downplay the numbers of Russian troops killed in Ukraine: report

The Kremlin has found a sneaky way to downplay the numbers of Russian troops killed in Ukraine: report

When Russian forces launched a full-fledged invasion of Ukraine on February 24, President Vladimir Putin obviously didn’t anticipate how aggressively and intensely Ukraine’s military would fight back. The number of Russian troops killed during the invasion, according to estimates from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), is somewhere between 7000 and 15,000. And according to reporting in the Daily Beast, the Kremlin has found a sneaky way to downplay the number of Russian fatalities.

“Russian authorities are transporting the dead bodies of Russia’s fallen soldiers from Ukraine back to Russia in ‘small batches’ in the dead of night in an attempt to conceal just how many Russian troops are dying in Ukraine, according to intelligence shared by the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU),” the Daily Beast’s Shannon Vavra reports in an article published on May 2. “The intelligence — intercepted calls between Russian troops the SBU said it picked up in the Zaporozhye region — suggests that Russia is also transporting the corpses back to Russia in small groups in order to avoid suspicion that Russia’s invasion is sustaining massive losses or faltering in Ukraine, the SBU said.”

Because the bodies of Russian soldiers killed in Ukraine aren’t being transported back to Russia right away, Vavra reports, some of the “half decomposed” soldiers are unrecognizable to their relatives.

“Russia has long sought to cover up casualties of its service members,” Vavra notes. “During the war in Afghanistan in the 1980s, Russia had its dead soldiers transported back to Russia in the middle of the night. When Russia invaded Ukraine in 2014, families of Russian troops killed there were forced to sign non-disclosure agreements to avoid discussing how the soldiers died, according to a Kavkazsky Uzel report.”

NATO’s estimate of 7000-15,000 Russian soldiers killed in Ukraine since February 24 has been quoted by many major publications. But according to a figure released by Ukrainian officials on Monday, May 2, the death toll is even higher.

“Russia's casualties in the war in Ukraine continue to mount,” Vavra reports. “Russia has so far lost 23,800 troops, with the greatest losses in recent days in Izyum, according to an analysis the General Staff of the Armed Services of Ukraine shared Monday. Ukrainian forces claimed, in recent hours, they had destroyed Russia's command center in Izyum.”

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