In a call intercepted by Ukraine, a Russian soldier was recorded confessing that nearly 26,000 soldiers on his side died in two months of fighting.
“Our boys have been screwed, damn screwed”the soldier tells a comrade in a transcript of the call posted online by the Ukrainian secret service.
“The official tally is one thing, but I’ll tell you now: 25,900 are dead. It’s in two fucking months.”he adds.
In another part of the intercepted call, a second soldier speaks of the heartbreaking death of one of his senior commanders.
“The brigade commander stole. His intestines were removed and put back into his stomach.”He says.
“They sent him in a helicopter. They took him to Russia, and that’s where his heart skipped a beat.” add.
None of the casualty accounts can be independently verified, but the death toll roughly matches what Ukraine claims: that 22,800 Russians were killed.
The account of the death of a major, probably a colonel, also matches official data collected in Russia which suggests that many high-ranking officers were killed.
While the Russian government has provided only occasional updates on the number of deaths suffered by its armed forces, local government and newspaper announcements suggest that at least 317 officers died in action.
This represents an extraordinarily high number of officers to lose in two months of fighting and likely contributed to Russia’s poor performance on the battlefield.
Due to delays in reporting deaths, some deaths are unidentifiable and deliberate cover-ups, so the true number of officer deaths is likely much higher.
Russia is now in the third month of its “special military operation” in Ukraine, which was to last only a few days and end with the overthrow of the government.
But 63 days later, President Volodymyr Zelensky remains in command of the country and the Ukrainian army retains control of most of its territory.
Having failed in its mission to take kyiv, Russia withdrew from northern Ukraine and refocused its efforts on taking areas in the eastern Donbass region.
Heavy fighting takes place there, and Ukraine says Russia is trying to push south from a town called Izyum to Donetsk to surround its troops.
At the same time, Russian forces attacked the town of Popansa, further east, in an attempt to corner the Ukrainian defenders there.
Further south, in Mariupol, members of the Ukrainian marines and the Azov battalion are still holed up inside the Azovstal steelworks, claiming that Russia used banned phosphorus bombs to try to hunt them.
To the west, in Kherson, the only major city captured by Russia so far, explosions were reported overnight that brought down a television mast.
The attack, which appears to come from Ukraine, he withdrew the Russian state channels that had been broadcast in the city.
During, Local officials have delayed plans to hold a referendum in the city to create an independent republic, but have announced that the local currency will soon be changed to rubles.
Even further west, in Transnistria, a breakaway region of Moldova occupied by Russian forces, residents reported receiving text message warnings that Ukraine could strike at any moment.