US says Russia is losing hundreds of soldiers a day in Ukraine

A senior US defense official said on Friday that Russia was likely suffering hundreds of casualties a day in Ukraine and had lost thousands of officers in the war, as fighting continued in Ukraine’s Donbass region.

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

The United States estimates that 15,000 Russian soldiers were killed in Ukraine and 45,000 injured.

In addition to the mid-level officers who were killed, “many” Russian generals were also lost on the battlefield, the official said.

Russia generally does not disclose 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 Donetsk in eastern Ukraine “is expected to last all summer” with Russia making slow gains at a high cost.

The official said Russia was launching tens of thousands of artillery rounds a day, but had used a lot of “smarter munitions” and “couldn’t go on forever”.

The United States on Friday signed an additional $270 million in military aid to Ukraine, including four new High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS).

Kyiv called the precision rocket system, which can hit targets within 80 kilometers, a game-changer in the fight against Russia.

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

Ukraine also suffered heavy casualties, both in its army and among civilians. In June, Ukraine said 100 to 200 soldiers were being killed every day.

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

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

On Thursday, a barrage on Kharkiv killed at least three people and injured 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, injuring 18 residents.

Regional Governor Valentyn Reznichenko called the attack “senseless”.

“There are no military objectives behind this, and this bombardment can only be explained by their desire to keep people in suspense and to sow panic and fear,” Reznichenko said.

The strikes against civilians came as Russia and Ukraine agreed to pave the way for the shipment of millions of tons of Ukrainian grain and some Russian grain and fertilizer exports.

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

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