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One Russian was killed for every 48cm of land captured by Vladimir Putin’s forces in the siege of Bakhmut
- Russia claimed last month it took control of besieged city in eastern Ukraine
- However Ukrainian army chiefs have said they still controlled parts of the city
- MoD officials made estimate after widespread reports of heavy Russian losses
One Russian soldier was killed for every 48cm (19 in) of land captured by Vladimir Putin’s forces in Bakhmut, the UK’s Ministry of Defence has estimated.
Russia claimed last month that it had taken control of the besieged city in eastern Ukraine, the scene of some of the worst fighting since Putin invaded the country 15 months ago.
However, Ukrainian army chiefs have dismissed the claim, saying they still controlled parts of the city in the south-west.
Officials at the MoD made their estimate after widespread reports claimed Russia sustained heavy losses in Bakhmut.
European governments believe Russia lost more than 20,000 troops, half of whom were mercenaries from the Wagner Group militia, and more than 60,000 were injured – a figure that the US claims could be up to 100,000.
An aerial view of heavy fighting in the Bakhmut, Eastern Ukraine region taken last month, when the MoD estimates one Russian soldier was killed for every 48cm (19 in) of land captured by Vladimir Putin’s forces
A Ukrainian serviceman looks on in a trench at a position near Bakhmut on May 30, where heavy fighting has cost the Russians a soldier for every advance of 48cm
Last week, Western officials revealed that Bakhmut – a city covering 16 square miles with a pre-war population of just over 73,000 – cost the Russians a soldier for every advance of 48cm.
One said: ‘It is essentially World War One, where we’ve seen waves of infantry, in many cases unsupported by combined arms, going up against defensive positions and in many cases literally being mown down.’
He added that the massive casualties would have a ‘collective psychological impact on the Russian forces themselves’ and will also probably affect Russian society once the numbers become known’. Yevgeny Prigozhin, boss of the Wagner Group, said half of his men who died in Bakhmut were Russian convicts recruited to fight in the war.
He said 99 per cent of his men had left Bakhmut and handed control over to Russian troops.
Last night, after visiting his troops in the area, Colonel-General Oleksandr Syrskyi, commander of Ukraine’s ground forces, said Russia was still losing soldiers there.
In a message on the Telegram app, he wrote: ‘The enemy continues to suffer significant losses in the Bakhmut direction. Defence forces of Ukraine continue to fight. We will win.’
On Thursday, Ukrainian deputy defence minister Hanna Maliar said Russia wanted to create an impression of calm around Bakhmut, but shelling was still at levels similar to those at the height of the battle to take the city.
Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky said this week that a long-awaited counter-offensive by his forces against occupying Russian troops was imminent
Suspected Ukrainian attacks continued inside Russia over the weekend, as two people were killed and six injured on Friday after shelling in the Belgorod region, which borders Ukraine.
In the Kursk region there was a suspected Ukrainian drone attack that left several buildings damaged, while officials in neighbouring Bryansk also reported shelling.
Yesterday, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky told the Wall Street Journal that a long-awaited counter-offensive by his forces against occupying Russian troops was imminent.
He said: ‘We strongly believe we will succeed. I don’t know how long it will take.’
News of Russia’s heavy losses came as it emerged yesterday that a 22-year-old Ukrainian footballer has been killed in combat.
The country’s defence ministry said Mykola Zhydkov, who played for Polish club LKS Wegrzanka, had returned to his homeland seven months ago to fight.
Source: DailyMail UK