Putin loses 100,000 troops in just five months as assault on Ukrainian city disintegrates

​Vladimir Putin

Vladimir Putin has lost significant troop numbers over the past five months

Dan Falvey

By Dan Falvey

Published: 02/05/2023

- 09:10

Updated: 02/05/2023

- 14:41

Ukraine has managed to hold on to Bakhmut despite a five month onslaught from Moscow

Russia has suffered 100,000 casualties in its desperate bid to seize the Ukrainian city of Bakhmut, according to the White House.

Vladimir Putin's efforts to take control of the small eastern Ukrainian city, which is seen as strategically important, has led to the deaths of 20,000 troops with a further 80,000 wounded.

Bakhmut sits in the Donetsk region, one of the two areas of Ukraine that Russia recognised as a break-away state in February last year.

Ukraine has managed to hold on to the city despite a five month onslaught from Moscow.

Ukrainian soldier and tank taking fire from Russia

Ukraine has managed to hold on to the city despite a five month onslaught from Moscow


US National Security Adviser John Kirby said: "We estimate that Russia has suffered more than 100,000 casualties, including over 20,000 killed in action.

"Russia's attempt at an offensive in the Donbass, largely through Bakhmut, has failed.

"Russia has been unable to seize any really strategically significant territory."

Kirby added: "This attempted effort, particularly in Bakhmut, has come at a terribly, terribly high cost.

Ukrainian soldier firing tank

Ukraine has managed to keep a key supply route open


"Russia has exhausted its military stockpiles and its armed forces."

Ukraine remains in control of a key supply route into Bakhmut, a military spokesperson for the country said over the weekend.

The vital access has allowed for fresh stocks of ammunition to continue to be sent to troops in the area.

At the same time, the head of Russia's mercenary Wagner Group has threatened to withdraw some of his troops from the eastern city if Moscow did not send more ammunition of its own.

In a live broadcast on Saturday, Yevgeny Prigozhin said the Kremlin was to blame for the "unjustified" losses.

"It would have been five times fewer if we had more ammunition," he said.

"We are going to attack Bakhmut to our last bullet, but these munitions are not even enough for a week, mere days.

"And so if the munitions deficit is not addressed we will be required...not to run like cowardly rats [but] to either retreat, or remain to die."

The Wagner Group has been credited with many of Russia's successes in Ukraine and the retreat of troops in Bakhmut would be a major setback for Putin.

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