Russia’s winter offensive ‘fails’ after 20,000 dead in five months | world news
Russia’s winter offensive in Donbass has failed after its military suffered “staggering” casualties over the past five months of fighting in the Bakhmut region and other areas of Ukraine.
White House national security spokesman John Kirby told reporters US Secret Service estimates put the death toll at 100,000 — including more than 20,000 dead.
Half are from the Wagner group, most of whom are “convicts thrown into combat without adequate training, combat skills, or any sense of organizational leadership and control,” he added.
“It’s really staggering, those numbers,” said Mr. Kirby. “Russia’s attempt at a winter offensive in the Donbass largely by Bakhmut has failed.”
He said the Russians had made some increasing gains in “that little town of Bakhmut” but they had come at a “horrible, horrible price”.
“Russia has exhausted its military supplies and its armed forces,” Kirby added.
The US said in November Moscow had lost well over 100,000 people dead or wounded in the first eight months of the conflict.
These new figures suggest that Russian casualties have accelerated dramatically.
Mr Kirby declined to provide estimates of Ukrainian casualties, saying: “They are the casualties here. Russia is the aggressor”.
One of the top Ukrainian generals said “the situation in Bakhmut is quite difficult”, but Russian forces were repulsed from some positions amid fierce fighting.
The 10-month struggle for the eastern Ukrainian city has acquired symbolic importance for both sides.
It has become the linchpin of a war that has seen little shifting on the front lines since late 2022, leaving both sides searching for a breakthrough.
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