At least half of the elite 30,000 Russian paratroopers deployed to Ukraine have probably been killed or wounded, according to British intelligence.
In its latest analysis of the war, the UK Ministry of Defence said the figure came after an “unsanctioned” disclosure of the losses the force has taken.
“The annual celebrations of Russia’s Airborne Forces (VDV) Day on 2 August 2023 have been overshadowed by an apparently unsanctioned disclosure of the scope of the casualties the elite force has suffered in Ukraine,” it said.
“In a recorded address for VDV Day, the VDV’s Commander-in-Chief General Colonel Mikhail Teplinsky said that 8500 paratroopers had been wounded and later returned to duty or had refused to leave the front line at all.”
The MoD said the video was then “quickly deleted from the Russian MoD’s official channels”.
“He did not comment on how many troops had been killed or were too seriously wounded to return to duty,” it added.
“However, extrapolating Teplinksy’s figures endorses the assessment that at least 50 per cent of the 30,000 paratroopers who deployed to Ukraine in 2022 have been killed or wounded.”
It comes after Russia warned it would retaliate after Ukrainian drones hit one of its tankers in the Black Sea near Crimea late Friday, the second sea attack involving drones in one day.