Ukraine’s military on Tuesday claimed that the last 24 hours of fighting were the deadliest yet for Russian troops, setting a chilling new record ahead of the war’s one-year anniversary.
Kyiv announced that the tally of Russian military deaths increased by 1,030 overnight— making the total number of military fatalities 133,190.
Russia has also claimed to have killed large numbers of Ukrainian troops in recent weeks, boasting a massive 6,500 Ukrainian casualties just in January.
Neither side’s account has been independently verified, and Kyiv has offered few details about the most recent battles.
The high death toll reflects reports from both sides that detail relentless fighting and escalated campaigns of close-contact trench warfare.
Ukrainian forces are preparing for a major Russian offensive in the coming weeks, likely aligning with the first anniversary of the war.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has signaled Moscow’s attempt to regain its initiative by amassing troops in the Luhansk province in eastern Ukraine.
As Russia hopes to be able to make new gains utilizing the hundreds of thousands of troops called up over the past two months, Kyiv has been waiting for the arrival of Western tanks in preparation for the anticipated offensive.
Intense fighting has continued for weeks around Ukraine’s hotly contested Bakhmut, and the nearby towns of Soledar and Vuhledar, in the eastern Donetsk province.
Meanwhile, Russia has only seen its first gains in half a year over the last few weeks. Despite its aggressive winter campaign that has left thousands of people dead, Russia has not captured a single major population center.
Even as Russia makes feeble gains, they lack “munitions and maneuver units required for a successful offensive,” the United Kingdom Ministry of Defense said during an update on Tuesday.
Russian forces have “only managed to gain several hundred meters of territory per week,” the ministry said, noting their small successes are not likely to end the war in the foreseeable future.
“Russian leaders will likely continue to demand sweeping advances. It remains unlikely that Russia can build up the forces needed to substantially affect the outcome of the war within the coming weeks.”
With Post wires.