Almost 10,000 Russian soldiers have died in less than a month since the invasion of Ukraine, a pro-Kremlin newspaper revealed before quickly scrubbing the figures.
Vladimir Putin’s apparent strategy of a quick toppling the Ukraine government with a “special military operation” on February 24 have failed due to stubborn and ferocious resistance from their neighbours.
The Russian army have yet to take any of the major cities in Ukraine and due to the slowness of the invasion Putin’s troops have taken to heavy shelling which is in turn causing a heavy loss of life.
Thousands of Ukrainians have been killed, however, the Russians have also suffered heavy losses against an opponent who is heavily motivated to defend his homeland, Mirror Online reports.
Officially the Kremlin had claimed that there had been 498 Russian deaths on March 2 but now it appears to be as high as 9,861, with a further 16,153 injured.
The figures were published by the pro-Putin tabloid Komsomolskaya Pravda last Sunday citing Russian defense ministry officials.
But then the statistics were quickly removed from the article.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has said that it would not be possible to negotiate an end to the war in his country without meeting Putin.
Zelensky told European public television networks such a meeting could discuss the future of occupied Ukrainian territory, but more time would be required to resolve the issue.
He also repeated his acknowledgment made earlier this month that Ukraine could not now secure NATO membership.
“I believe that until such time as we have a meeting with the president of the Russian Federation…you cannot truly understand what they are prepared to do in order to stop the war and what they are prepared to do if we are not ready for this or that compromise,” Zelensky said.
Zelensky has sought a meeting with Putin for nearly a year, but the Russian leader has refused and instead demanded the Ukrainian president resolve his country’s “civil war” with separatist territories linked to Moscow.
Since Russian troops poured into Ukraine last month, Zelensky has issued increasingly urgent calls for talks to end the fighting.
Last week he called for a meeting quickly so that Russia could “limit the losses caused by its mistakes”.
Russia’s assault on Ukraine has forced a quarter of Ukraine’s 44 million people from their homes as well as killing thousands.
Germany predicted the refugee number could reach as high as 10 million in coming weeks.
“I am ready at a meeting with the president of Russia to raise the issue of occupied territories, but I am certain that a solution will not come at this meeting,” Zelensky.
He said several conditions would need to be met before such matters could be dealt with, namely, a ceasefire, the withdrawal of troops and security guarantees.
“If people are trying to stop a war, there is a ceasefire and troops are withdrawn. The presidents meet, reach an agreement on withdrawing troops and there are security guarantees of one sort or another,” he said.
“Compromises must be found, one way or another of guaranteeing our security.”
Zelensky said Ukraine is well aware it cannot be admitted into NATO now.
NATO member states, Zelensky said, “understand that they do not want to fight with Russia and therefore cannot take us in…we have to reconcile ourselves to that and say ‘ok, other guarantees’.”
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