Putin’s Army Reeling After 600 Killed Inside Russia, Ukraine Claims

Reuters/Handout/Vyacheslav Gladkov via Telegram
Reuters/Handout/Vyacheslav Gladkov via Telegram

Russia has allegedly lost 600 men in the attacks on its border regions in recent days, and the operation has hindered Vladimir Putin’s war efforts by keeping his troops distracted, according to Ukrainian intelligence.

The armed offensive—waged by three anti-Kremlin Russian militia groups earlier this month—has also left more than 800 Russians wounded, according Andrii Yusov, a representative of the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense’s Main Intelligence Directorate. Speaking on a telethon Monday, Yusov added that 20 Russian armored vehicles and seven tanks have been damaged in the attacks, which he described as having caused “serious enemy losses.”

The militia groups—the Freedom of Russia Legion, the Russian Volunteer Corps, and the Siberian Battalion—have said that the intended goal of their campaign is to bring an end to the war on Ukraine. They also allegedly have damaged Russian ammunition warehouses, dugouts, towers with antennae, video surveillance, a cellular communication station, a bridge, and other fortifications.

Local Kremlin officials have alleged that the attacks only killed two Russians and injured 12, the AP reported. Moscow has also claimed that its forces killed over 400 enemy fighters and destroyed five tanks and four armored vehicles in the attacks.

Russia has accused Kyiv of directing the Russian militias in their rampage. The Ukrainian government has denied the allegation.

Russians Warned to Flee Border Cities While They Still Can

Yusov didn’t wave the militias off the attacks, however. “At home they have the right to do whatever they think is necessary,” Yusov said, adding that in Ukraine, they operate as part of Ukraine’s forces.

The Ukrainian government has also been waging its own sabotage attacks targeting energy infrastructure inside Russia, in an apparent attempt to stifle Russian funding for the war.

Over the weekend, the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), the Special Operations Forces, and the Unmanned Systems Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine attacked the Slavyansk-on-Kuban oil refinery in Russia's Krasnodar Krai, causing an explosion and a fire, a source from the SBU told Ukrainska Pravda.

The Slavyansk refinery produces 4.5 million metric tons of crude a year, which is mainly intended for exports, according to Reuters. Some of the facilities impacted in recent attacks have accounted for approximately 12 percent of Russia’s oil-processing capacity, according to Bloomberg.

The SBU source added that the Slavyansk-on-Kuban target was just one of 12 oil refineries attacked in Russia in recent days. Refineries in the Ryazan, Nizhny Novgorod, and Leningrad oblasts have also been hit by drone strikes, according to the Kyiv Independent.

Russia claimed Ukrainian saboteurs have launched 35 drones in all in recent days, disrupting electricity supplies in border areas, according to Reuters. Vyacheslav Gladkov, the governor of Belgorod, has said the attacks have damaged power lines.

The SBU has assessed that the campaign aimed at damaging Russia’s energy infrastructures is successful, the source told Ukrainska Pravda.

They are “successful, as a large-scale fire was reported near the atmospheric distillation towers, which were the primary targets,” the source said.

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