Minister Shoigu said Ukrainian forces lost more than 383,000 soldiers since the conflict broke out, and losses in the counterattack campaign were 159,000 people.
“The Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) on June 4 launched a large-scale counterattack prepared by foreign observers,” Russian Defense Minister General Sergey Shoigu said at a meeting on December 19. “The enemy was stopped and suffered heavy losses when they could not overcome the tactical defense zone of the Russian army.”
According to General Shoigu, Ukraine’s losses in the counterattack were 159,000 soldiers killed and wounded, 121 aircraft, 23 helicopters, 766 tanks, including 37 Leopards, 2,348 armored vehicles of all types, including 50 M2 Bradleys. “This is why US Abrams tanks have not appeared on the battlefield even though they were delivered a few months ago,” Mr. Shoigu said.
“Since the start of the special operation, AFU losses have been more than 383,000 soldiers killed and wounded, 14,000 tanks, infantry fighting vehicles and armored personnel carriers, 553 aircraft, 259 helicopters, 8,500 Howitzers and rocket artillery were destroyed,” the Russian Defense Minister reported.
Mr. Shoigu said Ukraine has opened nine rounds of troop mobilization, and the 10th round is ongoing. He announced that Russian forces neutralized the majority of Ukraine’s “foreign mercenaries,” specifically 5,800 fighters, including 1,427 from Poland, 466 from the US and 344 from the UK.
Minister Shoigu did not announce the number of Russian military casualties in the conflict with Ukraine. However, Mr. Shoigu confirmed that 98% of Russian wounded soldiers have been discharged from the hospital after recovering.
“Russian units received orders to establish defensive lines to increase the stability of defense capabilities,” General Shoigu said. “The units laid mines in an area with a total length of 7,000 km, placed 1.5 million dragon tooth anti-tank obstacles, installed 12,000 precast concrete fortifications, established 3,000 platoon-level strongholds, and built 45,000 points. Shelters in trenches and more than 150,000 shelters for combat vehicles along a front line more than 2,000 km long. The width of the minefield is up to 600 m, twice the standard level.”
Ukraine has not commented on General Shoigu’s statement. Ukraine does not announce casualties in its conflict with Russia. According to the Ukrainian military, Russia lost more than 348,000 soldiers, nearly 5,800 tanks, more than 10,700 armored vehicles, 8,100 artillery pieces, 926 rocket artillery, 324 helicopters and 324 aircraft.
General Shoigu assessed Ukraine’s damage situation while President Volodymyr Zelensky said the country was considering mobilizing an additional 450,000-500,000 troops, with an estimated cost of up to 13.5 billion USD. Mr. Zelensky said mobilizing such a large number of soldiers is an extremely sensitive issue, and the Ukrainian army and government will discuss it before making a decision.
Meanwhile, Lieutenant General Oleksandr Syrsky, commander of the Ukrainian army, said on December 19 that the Russian army continuously attacked three main axes; the situation in Kharkiv province was “very complicated” when Russian forces overwhelmed Ukraine both in numbers and weapons.
Brigadier General Oleksandr Tarnavsky, commander of the Tavria strategic and operational group in charge of the southern front of the Ukrainian army, on December 18 admitted that the country’s front-line units faced a huge problem of lacking artillery ammunition and most had to switch to a defensive position.
Mr. Tarnavsky said Ukrainian forces must rebuild their plans, reduce the scale of operations, as well as reallocate weapons and ammunition to units.