'Colossal Difference' Between Ukrainian & Russian Losses, Putin Tells Africa Summit

Throughout the Russia-Ukraine war true casualty figures have remained largely a secret, suppressed by both sides, which often happens in the middle of active conflicts. 

Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke to reporters Thursday on the sidelines of the Russia-Africa Summit in St. Petersburg. He took the opportunity to once again highlight that Ukraine's counteroffensive has failed, and that in the process Kiev has suffered huge losses, both in manpower and foreign-supplied equipment.

Russia-Africa summit on Thursday, AFP via Getty Images

He also said that his troops particularly in Zaporizhzhia region in the south, where Western reports say Russian lines have been breached, are demonstrating "mass heroism". 

It was previously rare for Putin to comment with detail on the active battlefield situation as it was unfolding, but he's been doing this more and more lately: 

"The adversary used a large amount of heavy hardware, around 50 pieces. Some 39 of them, namely 26 tanks and 13 armored vehicles were destroyed," Putin claimed, per state media translation.

He also asserted that the difference between the two sides in terms of losses at the ongoing battle in Zaporizhzhia is "colossal"...

Around 60% of the armor was taken out by ground forces in direct contact, while the rest was hit by Russian frontline aviation, the president noted.

The Ukrainian military sustained heavy personnel losses during the engagement, with more than 200 soldiers lost, Putin revealed. He acknowledged that the Russian military suffered casualties while repelling the advance, describing the difference between the losses of the two sides as “colossal.” Ukraine lost ten times more soldiers than Russia during the battle, he claimed.

In the West, there are contradictory accounts, with state-funded BBC for example suggesting a major Ukrainian "breakthrough". 

"Reports out of the battle zone suggest Ukraine's forces may have broken through some entrenched Russian defences in the south, as Volodymyr Zelenskyy hinted at success on the frontline," writes BBC.

The Zelensky government is under immense pressure to show progress, after a slew of major headlines in mainstream newspapers in Europe and the US have declared a stalled and failing offensive.

Unverified but widely circulating footage suggest continued major losses for Ukrainian forces, amid a severe lack of airpower, as the Russians maintain aerial superiority...

Zelensky fears Washington will lose appetite for keeping up the billions in arms and support for the war effort if it's a losing proposition. 

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