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US says Russia losing hundreds of troops per day in Ukraine

Thousands of Russian officers believed lost in war, damaging military’s chain of command, US official says

Ukrainian troops fire at Russian positions in Kharkiv region, Ukraine, July 14, 2022. (AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka, File)
Ukrainian troops fire at Russian positions in Kharkiv region, Ukraine, July 14, 2022. (AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka, File)

A senior US defense official said Friday that Russia is likely suffering hundreds of casualties per day in Ukraine, and has lost thousands of officers in the war, as fighting grinds on in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region.

Russia’s losses include thousands of lieutenants and captains, damaging its military’s chain of command, the official told the Reuters news agency.

The US believes 15,000 Russian troops have been killed in Ukraine, and 45,000 wounded.

In addition to the mid-level officers who have been killed, “many” Russian generals have been lost on the battlefield as well, the official said.

Russia generally does not divulge its military deaths. On March 25, Russia acknowledged that 1,351 soldiers had died in Ukraine.

A senior US defense official told The Associated Press that the fight for eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk is “likely to last through the summer,” with Russia achieving slow gains at high cost.

The official said Russia is launching tens of thousands of artillery rounds per day but has used a lot of “smarter munitions” and “can’t keep it up forever.”

The US on Friday signed off on another $270 million in military aid to Ukraine, including four new High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS).

Kyiv has called the precision rocket system, which can strike targets within 50 miles (80 kilometers), a game-changer in countering Russia.

A woman looks at a trolley damaged by Russian shelling at Barabashovo market in Kharkiv, Ukraine, July 21, 2022. (AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka)

Ukraine is also taking heavy losses, both in its military and among civilians. In June, Ukraine said 100 to 200 troops were being killed each day.

On Friday, Ukrainian officials said emergency workers had recovered three bodies from a school hit by a Russian strike in the eastern city of Kramatorsk, one of a string of attacks.

The Ukrainian president’s office said that the Russian shelling in Kramatorsk destroyed the school and damaged 85 residential buildings. Russia claimed to have killed 300 Ukrainian troops who were using the school as a base.

On Thursday, a barrage on Kharkiv killed at least three people and wounded 23.

In the Dnipro region of central Ukraine, three schools were destroyed in the latest Russian strikes, Ukrainian authorities said. Seven Russian missiles hit the small town of Apostolove, wounding 18 residents.

The regional governor, Valentyn Reznichenko, decried the “senseless” attack.

“There are no military goals behind it, and this shelling could only be explained by their desire to keep people on edge and sow panic and fear,” Reznichenko said.

The strikes against civilians came despite Russia and Ukraine agreeing to clear the way for the shipment of millions of tons of Ukrainian grain and some Russian exports of grain and fertilizer.

The deal marked the most significant agreement involving the warring nations since the outbreak of the war.

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