Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine has cost the lives of 15,000 Russian troops, says Defence Secretary Ben Wallace

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Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine has cost the lives of 15,000 Russian troops, says Defence Secretary Ben Wallace
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About 15,000 Russian troops have been killed in Ukraine since Vladimir Putin ordered his invasion, Britain’s Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said on Monday.

He also stressed that multiple sources suggested that some 2,000 Russian armoured vehicles had been destroyed or captured since the conflict started on February 24.

“It’s our assessment that approximately 15,000 Russian personnel have been killed during their offensive,” Mr Wallace told the Commons.

The Russian armed forces had lost at least 530 tanks, 530 armoured personnel carriers, and 560 infantry fighting vehicles, as well as over 60 helicopters and fighter jets, he added.

The number of Russian soldiers wounded and incapacitated is believed to be three to four times as high as the death toll.

After Mr Putin’s original invasion plan, which included seizing Kyiv within days, failed so spectacularly, Mr Wallace added: “The offensive that was supposed to take a maximum of a week has now taken weeks.”

He stressed that he did not celebrate the Russian losses and accused Russian generals of sending many young soldiers to their deaths.

As Mr Putin’s prepares to now step up attacks in the Donbas in eastern Ukraine, the Defence Secretary emphasised the urgency that the West provides Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky’s government with the weapons it needs for its military to fight back.

Britain has already supplied more than 5,000 anti-tank missiles to Ukraine , five air defence systems, with more than 100 missiles, 1,360 anti-structural munitions, 4.5 tonnes of plastic explosives, as well as the Starstreak high velocity and low velocity anti-air missiles.

The UK had also pledged 120 armoured vehicles, sourced anti-ship missiles, and high tech loitering munitions for precision strikes.

Mr Wallace added: “But as we can see from Ukraine’s requests, more still needs to be done.

“So for that reason, I can now announce to the House that we shall be gifting a small number of armoured vehicles fitted with launchers for those anti-air missiles.

“These Stormer vehicles will give Ukrainian forces enhanced, short-range anti-air capabilities both day and night.”

He stressed that the RAF was also transporting Russian-designed military equipment, held by other allies, to Ukraine.

The Cabinet minister stated that the sinking of the Russian navy flagship, the Moskva, a 510-crew missile cruiser, was the second key naval asset that Mr Putin had lost since the invasion started more than two months ago, “signigicantly weakening their ability to bring their maritime assets to bear from the Black Sea”.

He added: “Russia has so far failed in nearly every one of its objectives.”

The Russian high command had therefore “regrouped, reinforced and changed focus” to try to secure the Donetsk and Luhansk areas of the Donbas region.

It had also appointed one overall commander for the military offensive General Alexander Dvornikov.

Mr Putin deployed more than 120 Battalion Tactical Groups, each comprising of around 900 military personnel, for the invasion. around 65 per cent of Russia’s entire ground combat strength.

“As of now we assess that around over 25 per cent of these have been rendered not combat effective,” Mr Wallace said.

He added: “Ukraine is an inspiration to us all.

“Their brave people have never stopped fighting for their land, they have endured indiscriminate bombardment, war crimes and overwhelming military aggression.

“But they have stood firm, galvanised the international community, and beaten back the army of Russia in the north and the north east.”

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