Moscow Accuses Zelensky Of Lying After Issuing 'Very Low' Ukraine Troop Death Count

Just after the Russia-Ukraine war hit the two-year mark this past weekend, entering a third year and with no end in sight, President Volodymyr Zelensky publicly disclosed Ukraine's official troop death count for the first time. However it immediately resulted in skepticism among even Western pundits, and charges that he's 'lying'.

"31,000 Ukrainian soldiers have died in this war. Not 300,000 or 150,000, or whatever Putin and his lying circle are saying. But each of these losses is a great loss for us," he said.

Via TASS

Both sides have kept their casualty count a closely guarded secret, with each country's media regularly making claims of an immense death toll only on the other side, given it's an important part of wartime propaganda to keep the enemy in the dark and not let them perceive they could be 'winning'.

Zelensky's claim that Ukrainian troop deaths are in the low tens of thousands, and not in the hundreds of thousands, elicited fierce pushback from Moscow. It marks a rare moment that either side is actually talking specific figures, and really for most outside observers the whole 'debate' is grim. 

Russia’s Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said in a briefing before his top generals on Tuesday that Ukraine has actually lost 444,000 servicemen since the war's start. This is an astounding figure which far surpasses any and all prior speculation by pundits. He said according to a translation by NBC:

"As a result of the decisive and active actions of our military personnel, the combat potential of the Ukrainian armed forces is decreasing. On average, since the beginning of the year, the enemy has been losing more than 800 personnel and 120 units of various weapons, including foreign-made ones, every day," Shoigu claimed.

"After the collapse of the counteroffensive, the military command of the Ukrainian Armed Forces is trying to use the remaining reserves to stabilize the situation and prevent the collapse of the front," Shoigu added.

Pentagon officials have recently issued their own estimation of Moscow's losses, saying that US intelligence believes that some 315,000 Russian troops have been killed.

What is clear is that Ukrainian forces are currently in rapid retreat, and lack manpower and enough weaponry to keep up resistance along the front line. Ukraine's military has admitted retreating from several area villages after its collapse in Avdiiivka earlier this month:

"The Armed Forces have indeed withdrawn from the village of Lastochkyne, which is located immediately west of Avdiivka. There are difficult terrain conditions there, a cascade of small water reservoirs, and this qualifies as stabilizing the defence line, levelling it out to some extent. The enemy continues to attempt offensive actions towards the settlement of Orlivka, conducting them from three fronts, but they are unsuccessful."

Meanwhile, there's been no official progress related to potential ceasefire talks. Zelensky has continued touring Europe, and is even now in Saudi Arabia, trying to get large arms flowing into Kiev again.

While Russia's claims are anything but confirmed and are likely exaggerated (as all governments in a time of war tend to do when it comes to enemy losses), some pundits have found it much more credible that Zelensky's 31,000 figure:

Zelensky is sticking by Ukraine's own peace formula, which would require that Russia leave all occupied territory, and even give up claims to Crimea. This of course remains a non-starter for Moscow, which remains at an immense advantage both in manpower, artillery, and advanced arms. 

(Article by Tyler Durden republished from ZeroHedge.com)

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