Russia has admitted to suffering “significant troop losses” in Ukraine, as the invasion enters its 44th day.
Presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Britain’s Sky News channel that the victims were “a great tragedy” for Russia.
He also said he hoped Moscow would achieve its war goals “in the coming days.”
Peskov’s comments followed Russia’s expulsion from the United Nations Human Rights Council Thursday.
Some 93 of the 193 members of the UN General Assembly voted in favor of the diplomatic reprimand, which followed allegations of mass human rights abuses by Russian troops in the northern Ukrainian town of Bucha. .
Moscow announced its he resigns from the council in response.
The agency expressed “serious concern about the ongoing human rights and humanitarian crisis.” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky accused Russia of further atrocities in Borodiankaa city near the capital kyiv.
Peskov denied any suggestion that Russian troops were responsible for the executions in the city of Bucha, telling the British outlet that “we are living in days of falsifications and lies.” He claimed that images of murdered civilians were staged in the city.
However, his admission that Russia has suffered significant casualties is surprising. On March 25, the Russian Defense Ministry said that 1,351 of his soldiers had died in combat. Ukraine puts Russian deaths at almost 19,000.
Neither Russia nor Ukraine’s estimates of Russian losses can be independently verified, and analysts have warned that Russia may be underplaying its casualty rate, while Ukraine may be inflating it to boost morale.
Western leaders believe between 7,000 and 15,000 Russian soldiers have been killed.
end the war
Peskov, who has served as Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman since 2000, also claimed that Russia is looking for ways to end the war.
“Our military is doing everything possible to put an end to that operation,” he said. “And we hope that in the next few days, in the foreseeable future, this operation will achieve its objectives or end it with the negotiations between the Russian and Ukrainian delegations.”
Russia withdrew troops from kyiv and shifted most of the focus of his war to andeast of ukrainebut the fight shows no signs of ending.
Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister has urged Ukrainians living in the east to flee while they can, but the intensity of the shelling is hampering evacuations.
Ukraine aims to establish up to 10 humanitarian corridors by Friday, but civilians trying to flee Mariupol will have to use private vehicles, Reuters reported.
Not in the cold war
Thursday, Western nations imposed more sanctions on the Russian economy in retaliation for alleged war crimes committed in Ukraine.
The US Senate has voted unanimously to remove Russia’s “most favored nation” trade status, opening the door to harmful new tariffs and import controls on products such as platinum, chemicals, iron and steel.
And the European Union has agreed to gradually impose a ban on imports of Russian coal, worth about $4 billion a year to the Russian economy, over the next 120 days.
Speaking before Russia’s Parliament, the State Duma, Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin admitted that the cumulative impact of extensive sanctions means that the country faces its worst economic outlook in decades.
“Without a doubt, the current situation could be called the most difficult in three decades for Russia,” he said. “Such sanctions were not used even in the darkest times of the Cold War.”
But he said the impact of Western sanctions has been limited, telling MPs that “the financial system, the lifeblood of the entire economy, has been maintained.”
After collapsing to a record low in late February, Russia’s currency, the ruble, it recovered to its pre-war level.
Zelensky has renewed his calls for new supplies of heavy weapons from the West, saying his forces need “weapons that will give them the means to win on the battlefield and will be the strongest possible sanction against Russia.”
Now you can receive notifications from BBC World. Download the new version of our app and activate it so you don’t miss out on our best content.