Ukraine has claimed to have killed 590 Russian soldiers in the last 24 hours, according to the General Staff of the Armed Forces, as the fight for Bakhut rages on. In their latest daily update on Facebook, they said that 590 Russian tanks had been “liquidated” while three tanks had also been destroyed. It comes as the Institute for the Study of War reported that Russian military commanders appear to be increasingly handing responsibility for offensive operations in Ukraine over to their specialist forces.
Ukraine claims to have killed 182,660 Russian soldiers since the full-scale invasion last February.
While these numbers cannot be verified, UK defence minister Ben Wallace said in March that the latest US intelligence suggesting 220,000 Russian soldiers had been killed or wounded was accurate.
Mr Wallace did not discuss the make-up of dead and wounded but military analysts have told Express.co.uk that roughly 55,000 to 70,0000 Russian soldiers have been killed while another 150,000 have been seriously injured in the past 14 months.
For Ukrainians, those figures are believed to be roughly half. They were as low as a third prior to their sweeping counter-offensives last summer.
Despite heavy losses at the start of the invasion, Russian forces look to be reverting back to their use of its Airborne troops (VDV), according to the ISW.
The US think tank made the claim based on reports that VDV commander Col Gen Mikhail Teplinsky has returned to a “major” but unspecified role in Ukraine after the Russian MoD allegedly replaced him in January following a dispute with the chief of the Russian general staff, Valery Gerasimov.
His appointment further suggests that the Russian MoD wants to work more closely with the mercenary group Wagner in order to complete the capture of the embattled eastern city of Bakhmut, the ISW alleged.
Wagner Group financier Yevgeny Prigozhin had supported Teplinsky at the time of his dismissal in January.
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The ISW said: “The Russian MoD and Prigozhin publicly acknowledged on April 11 that VDV elements are engaged in the Bakhmut area and holding Wagner’s flanks north and south of Bakhmut while Wagner pursues the main offensive effort in the city itself.
“ISW has recently observed that elements of the 106th VDV division are operating in the Bakhmut area. Prigozhin has also scaled down his explicit rhetorical attacks on the MoD in recent days.
“Russian milbloggers have reported that Wagner forces are operating T-90 tanks within Bakhmut, suggesting that Russian leadership has allocated more modern assets to Wagner in their efforts to take the city.
“Teplinsky’s reappointment is therefore likely also an attempt by the Russian MoD to posture itself better to work with Wagner to finish the task of taking Bakhmut.”
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The fight for Bakhmut has been costly for the Wagner Group and Russian forces, with as many as 30,000 men estimated to have been killed in or around the city in Donetsk Oblast over the last 10 months.
Notwithstanding its lack of strategic value and that victory will likely be pyrrhic, Wagner Group mercenaries have expended huge numbers to try to take control of the city.
In the latest updates on the occupation status of the city, geolocated footage showed that the Russian 132nd Motorized Rifle Brigade (1st Army Corps) was recently active south of Bakhmut near Mayorsk.
Fighting continued in the disputed western areas of Bakhmut while reports of partial Ukrainian withdrawal appeared over the weekend.