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Military intelligence: Putin exaggerates Russian numbers in Ukraine

by Martin Fornusek December 15, 2023 9:13 PM 2 min read
The Main Directorate of Intelligence (HUR) spokesperson Andrii Yusov at the Presentation of the First Sociological Study of the Russian Prisoners of War, at the Military Media Center, Kyiv, Ukraine, May 4, 2023. (Kaniuka Ruslan / Ukrinform/Future Publishing via Getty Images)
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There are around 450,000 Russian troops deployed in Ukraine, rather than 617,000 as Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed, the spokesperson of Ukraine's military intelligence agency (HUR), Andrii Yusov, said on Dec. 15.

During his first major press conference since the start of the full-scale invasion, Putin flaunted Russia's alleged military successes and made claims about the number of Russian troops stationed in Ukraine.

"The enemy is giving distorted data to increase information pressure on our country," Yusov said on television, saying the messaging may be aimed to "scare someone abroad" or motivate the domestic population.

There are now more than 450,000 Russian soldiers fighting in Ukraine, according to the military intelligence spokesperson. The only way that Putin's numbers would be realistic is if they included killed soldiers, he added.

"Every time he (Putin) opened his mouth there, he lied," Yusov added.

A U.S. intelligence report cited by Reuters on Dec. 12 said that Russia lost the vast majority of its original invasion force.

According to the report, Russia began its full-scale invasion of Ukraine with 360,000 personnel. By now, 87% have reportedly been killed or injured.

Russia is expected to launch a new mobilization drive in 2024, most likely after the presidential elections in March. The country declared a partial mobilization of 300,000 personnel in the fall of 2022.

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