Ukrainian forces are also suffering heavy losses, according to the UK.

The Russian military is losing troops in Ukraine at the fastest rate so far this year, Britain claims. As Moscow’s long-awaited spring offensive gets underway, its soldiers are said to be dying in numbers not seen since the first week of the invasion.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy declared last week that Russia had launched the planned attack, which analysts had warned about for weeks.

The British Ministry of Defense stated that the first stage of the assault dealt a heavy blow to the invading forces.

“Over the past two weeks, Russia has probably suffered the highest number of casualties since the first week of the invasion of Ukraine,” the Defense Ministry said in a statement on Sunday.

He added that while the Kyiv figures could not be verified, “the trends the data illustrate are probably accurate.”

“The average of the last seven days was 824 casualties per day, more than four times the rate recorded in June-July 2022,” the Defense Ministry said, adding that the Ukrainian army also had a “high casualty rate.”.

“The increase in the number of Russian casualties is likely due to several factors, such as the lack of trained personnel, coordination, and resources on the entire front, which is evident in Vuhledar and Bakhmut,” concludes the release.

Meanwhile, the Wagner group of Russian paramilitaries claimed on Sunday that it had captured a village a few kilometers from the key city of Bakhmut.

Moscow has been trying to gain control of Bakhmut in the Donetsk province for months.

The city, which had a population of 73,000 before the war, is strategically important because it is located on a major highway and close to some rail links. Bringing it under their control would allow the Russians to launch assaults on nearby cities.

Yevgeny Prigozhin, Wagner’s boss, stated on Sunday: “Today, Wagner’s assault units have taken the city of Krasna Hora.”

The rivalry between the group, made up largely of convicts, and the Russian army surfaced during the fight for Bakhmut. However, the Kremlin denies that there are disagreements.

On January 11, Prigozhin claimed that his fighters had taken control of Soledar, a salt-mining town with a pre-war population of about 10,000 near Bakhmut.

Russian fighters pose for a photo near Bakhmut, Ukraine.

The Russian Defense Ministry declared that Moscow forces controlled the city two days later.

The Russian State Duma late on Saturday introduced a bill establishing discounts for oil exports, according to the website of the lower house of parliament.

Under the bill, the discount on expiry-dated Brent oil will be capped at 26 pounds ($34) a barrel in April, decreasing to 26 pounds in May, 23 pounds in June, and 21 pounds in July.

The government has been debating how to calculate the taxable price of Russian oil following the import ban imposed by the EU and the consequent lack of a reliable pricing mechanism.

Russia currently uses Ural price assessments at the European ports of Rotterdam and Augusta, provided by commodity price information agency Argus, to determine its mineral extraction tax, additional income tax, oil export duty, and the inverse excise tax on oil.

Moscow announced on Friday that it would cut its oil production by 500,000 barrels a day – about 5% of production – in March, following the imposition by the West of price caps on Russian oil and oil products.