In an interview with Sky News on Thursday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russia has taken “significant losses” in its war in Ukraine, calling it a “huge tragedy.”
Western media portrayed Peskov’s comments as a rare acknowledgment of Russia’s losses, but the Russian Defense Ministry has given occasional updates on troop casualties. On March 25, the Russian Defense Ministry said that 1,351 Russian soldiers had been killed since the start of the invasion on February 24, and 3,825 had been wounded. Peskov said he didn’t have any new updates on Russia’s casualties.
Ukraine and its Western backers have claimed far higher Russian troop deaths. On Thursday, Ukraine’s military claimed 18,900 Russian troops have been killed, but the number is not confirmed, and Kyiv has an interest in inflating Russian losses.
While Russia’s numbers are far lower than the estimates put out by Ukraine, losing over 1,000 troops is still a significant loss. When it comes to civilian casualties, the UN has said it confirmed at least 1,563 civilians have been killed but warned the true toll could be much higher.
Peskov’s interview came after Russia’s forces withdrew from areas of northern Ukraine near the cities of Kyiv and Chernihiv, a move that Peskov said was a “goodwill” gesture to facilitate peace talks. “It was a goodwill act to lift tension from those regions and show Russia is really ready to create comfortable conditions to continue negotiations,” he said.