Ukraine conflict: Russian soldier death rate highest since first week of war latest data suggests
Figures released by the Ukrainian General Staff on Russian casualties shows that Russia soldiers are being killed at four times the rate reported over June-July 2022.
The data, which was highlighted by the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) but not verified, shows that there 824 Russian casualties per day in February while Ukraine also continues to suffer a high attrition rate.
While the MoD have not verified the data, the UK have suggested that the trends are "likely accurate". The MoD suggests that the uptick in Russian casualties is likely due to a range of factors including lack of trained personnel, coordination, and resources across the front.
Ukrainian and Western officials have warned that Russia could launch a new, broad offensive there to try to turn the tide of the conflict as the war approaches the one-year mark. Ukraine's outgoing defence minister, Oleksiy Reznikov, last week said they were anticipating a new Russian offensive around 24 February - the anniversary of the full-scale invasion, with fierce fighting continuing in the east of the country.
Russian forces have continued to shell Ukrainian cities over the weekend amid a grinding push to seize more land in the east of the country, with Ukrainian officials saying Moscow is having trouble launching its much-anticipated large-scale offensive there.
One person was killed and another wounded on Sunday morning by the shelling of Nikopol, a city in the south-eastern Dnipropetrovsk region, governor Serhii Lysak reported.
The shelling damaged four residential buildings, a vocational school and a water treatment facility.
In Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest city, one person was injured when three Russian S-300 missiles hit infrastructure facilities overnight, regional governor Oleh Syniehubov said.
Ukrainian forces also downed five drones – four Shahed killer drones and one Orlan-10 reconnaissance drone – over the partially occupied Zaporizhzhia and Donetsk regions on Saturday evening, Kyiv’s military reported.
The attacks came as Russian forces push to take over more land in the eastern industrial heartland of Donbas, comprised of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
Earlier this week, the owner of the Russian Wagner Group private military contractor actively involved in the fighting in Ukraine said the war could drag on for years.
Yevgeny Prigozhin said in a video interview released late on Friday that it could take 18 months to two years for Russia to fully secure control of Donbas.
He added that the war could go on for three years if Moscow decides to capture broader territories east of the Dnieper River.
The statement from Mr Prigozhin, a millionaire who has close links to Russian President Vladimir Putin and was dubbed “Putin’s chef” for his lucrative Kremlin catering contracts, marked a recognition of the difficulties that the Kremlin has faced in the campaign, which it initially expected to wrap up within weeks when Russian troops invaded Ukraine on February 24 2022.
Russia suffered a series of humiliating setbacks in the autumn when the Ukrainian military launched successful counter-offensives to reclaim broad swathes of territory in the east and the south.