Ukraine’s military says more than 700 Russian troops were killed during a single day of war.
The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine said in a Facebook post on Tuesday that a total of 710 Russian soldiers had been “eliminated.” Ukraine said that a significant number of Russians were killed in the Donetsk region. The “greatest losses” were said to be near the city of Avdiivka and in Bakhmut, which Russian forces have been battling to capture for months.
Ukraine also claimed the destruction of 15 Russian tanks, 24 armored vehicles, nine artillery systems, four tactical drones, one anti-aircraft system and one airplane on Tuesday. Newsweek has not independently verified any of the Ukrainian figures.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky described the fighting in Donetsk, which Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed to have annexed for Russia in September, as “especially difficult” on Tuesday. He said that the Russian military was continuing its push to capture the entirety of the region despite its own troops suffering “extremely” heavy losses.
“The activity of the occupiers there remains at an extremely high level—dozens of attacks every day,” Zelensky said during his nightly televised address. “They suffer extremely large-scale losses, but their order has not changed—to reach the administrative border of the Donetsk region. We do not give up a single centimeter of our land there.”
Ukrainian resistance has meant that the Russian military has recently made “little to no progress” on the Donetsk front lines, according to a Tuesday report from the Institute for the Study of War (ISW), which cites Russian media and Telegram posts.
The ISW report also claims that Russian casualties in parts of the region “are much more severe” than what the Russian military has been willing to disclose.
On Monday, a letter purportedly from Russia’s 155th Guards Naval Infantry Brigade claimed that around 300 members of the unit were lost last week—including those “killed, wounded, and missing”—during an “incomprehensible” attack on the Donetsk village of Pavlivka.
“The district command together with [the brigade commander] are hiding this…for fear of accountability,” the letter claimed. “They don’t care about anything other than showing off. They call people meat.”
Russian officials disputed the claim, prompting Zelensky to assert that the region is “littered” with the bodies of Russian soldiers and accuse Moscow of ordering officials to “lie” about the situation.
“The Donetsk region remains the epicenter of the greatest madness of the occupiers—they die by the hundreds every day,” Zelensky said on Monday. “The ground in front of the Ukrainian positions is literally littered with the bodies of the occupiers.”
Ukraine claims that at least 77,170 Russian troops have been killed since the invasion began on February 24. Russia has rarely publicly shared its own figures on troop deaths, while those that have been released have been far lower than Ukrainian estimates.
In September, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu claimed that fewer than 5,937 Russian troops had been killed since the beginning of the war, according to Reuters. Ukraine claimed to have killed over 55,000 Russian troops at the time.
Newsweek reached out to the Russian Ministry of Defense for comment.