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Ukraine war: Russia state media reports 498 troops dead, denies conscripts deployed in Ukraine


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Russian state media outlet RIA reported that the armed forces lost 498 troops, with a further 1597 injured in the first admission of hard numbers to losses during the invasion of Ukraine. 

Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, local time. World leaders and diplomats widely condemned the attack and promised strong sanctions in response.

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Russia first admitted to troop deaths on Sunday after Ukraine continued to announce death numbers in the thousands, though no one has been able to independently verify Ukraine’s claims. The United Kingdom’s Defense Ministry had reported Russian loses of 450 on Friday – the second day of the conflict. 

The first numbers Russian state media provided claimed that around 498 troops had died by the end of the first week. 

RIA cited Russian Defense Ministry representative Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov, who continued to refer to the invasion as “special military operation.” 

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“All possible assistance is provided to the families of the victims,” Konashenkov said. 

But he also insisted that no conscripts or cadets had deployed as part of the invasion. 

“The information spread by many Western and individual Russian media about the allegedly “incalculable” losses of the Russian group is deliberate disinformation,” Konasheknov argued. 

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His rare admission reveals that Russia has struggled to control the information war at home, with independent – as he says, “individual Russian media” – likely reporting higher numbers than Putin is happy to hear. 

Much of the analysis regarding what Russia has done wrong with its invasion, which Putin seemed to believe would end after just three days, focused on the relatively un-trained conscripts that make up a significant portion of the military. 

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Estimates as to how much of the Russian military is made up of conscripts range from 50% according to the Warsaw Institute to 70% according to The Washington Post. 

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