APR 22, 2024 JLM 64°F 08:07 PM 01:07 PM EST
Wagner's Russian boss reveals a huge number of dead in the ranks of his team in Bakhmut

The head of the Wagner group in Russia, Yevgeny Prigozhin, said that more than 20,000 of his soldiers were killed in the long battle for the city of Bakhmut, and noted that about 20% of the 50,000 Russian prisoners he recruited to fight the 15-month war died this year in eastern Ukraine.

This figure is in stark contrast to Moscow's claims that it lost about 6,000 soldiers in the war, which is higher than the official estimate of Soviet losses in the Afghanistan war of 15,000 soldiers between 1979 and 1989.

Ukraine has not said how many of its soldiers have been killed since Russia's comprehensive invasion in February 2022.

Analysts believe that the nine-month battle for control of Bakhmut alone claimed the lives of tens of thousands of soldiers, including prisoners who reportedly received little training before being pushed into battle.

In an interview published Tuesday with Konstantin Dolgov, a pro-regime political strategist, Prigozhin said Russia's invasion was aimed at "disarming" Ukraine because Kiev's military was strengthened when its Western allies provided it with weapons and training.

Prigozhin also said Kremlin forces killed civilians during the war, something Moscow has repeatedly and vehemently denied.

He also said in an interview yesterday that the expected counterattack by Kiev in the coming weeks - in light of the continued Western support - may push the Russian forces from the south and east of Ukraine and possibly from the areas that Russia has declared annexation.

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