The White House estimated that Russia's military has suffered 100,000 casualties in the last five months in fighting in Donetsk Oblast's Bakhmut area and other regions of Ukraine.
The figure is based on U.S. intelligence estimates, White House National Security Council Spokesperson John Kirby said on May 1, and includes more than 20,000 dead, half of them from the Wagner mercenary group, Reuters reports.
In late April, BBC Russia, together with Mediazona, a Russian independent media outlet, using open sources established the names of 21,700 Russian soldiers who had been killed in the war in Ukraine. Of those, at least 3,401 are members of Russia's elite forces, include intelligence officers, Russian National Guard, paratroopers, marines and pilots.
"Russia's attempt at a winter offensive in the Donbas largely through Bakhmut has failed," Kirby was quoted as saying.
According to Kirby, the Russian forces did make some incremental gains in Bakhmut but that it has come at a "terrible, terrible cost" and that Ukraine's defenses in the region remain strong.
"It's really stunning, these numbers," Kirby added, saying the total is three times the number of American casualties in the Guadalcanal campaign in World War Two, according to Reuters.