Russia has ‘lost tens of thousands of troops,’ due to Ukraine war, says UK

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Russia has ‘lost tens of thousands of troops,’ due to Ukraine war, says UK

Russia has lost “tens of thousands of troops” as the conflict in Ukraine rages on, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has said.

On August 25, Vladimir Putin issued a decree increasing Russia’s armed forces by 140,000.

It is unclear if the increase represents voluneteer soldiers, or if the annual targets for the conscription draft have been moved in attempt to bolster the Russian army.

“In any case, under the legislation currently in place, the decree is unlikely to make substantive progress towards increasing Russia’s combat power in Ukraine.

“This is because Russia has lost tens of thousands of troops; very few new contract servicemen are being recruited; and conscripts are technically not obliged to serve outside of Russian territory,” the MoD said.

On Saturday, the MoD claimed Russian forces had stepped up assaults in the Donbas. Although attacks have increased, Russia has failed to make significant territorial gains, however, the ministry said.

Despite the failed territorial progress, concern remains over the safety and security of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant - the largest in Europe.

Russian troops have held the facility since March and officials are concerned over the potential damage both sides may cause to the plant due to artillery fire.

Ukraine stae-run energy agency, Energoatom said: “At the same time, due to the presence of the Russian military, their weapons, equipment and explosives at the power plant, there are serious risks for the safe operation of the ZNPP.

“As a result of periodic shelling, the infrastructure of the power plant has been damaged, there are risks of hydrogen leakage and sputtering of radioactive substances, and the fire hazard is high.”

Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky said on Friday the situation at Zaporizhzhia remained “very risky” after two of its six reactors were reconnected to the grid following shelling that caused the nuclear plant to be disconnected for the first time in its history.

Ukraine’s foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba said Russian forces are putting Europe at risk by stationing troops at the facility while the UN has called for an agreement to be signed to ensure the security of the facility.