During a Monday press briefing, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby claimed that Russian forces have suffered more than 100,000 total casualties in the strategic city of Bakhmut since December. According to Kirby, that estimate includes 20,000 troops killed in combat and another 80,000 wounded.
The spokesman went on to explain that the figures are based on “information and intelligence that we were able to corroborate over a period of some time.”
While international estimates currently indicate that Russia and its Wagner paramilitary group hold 80 to 90 percent of the Donetsk city of Bakhmut, Kirby claimed that the Russian advance in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts had “failed.”
“Most of these efforts have stalled and failed,” Kirby said. “Russia has been unable to seize any real strategically significant territory.”
“The only area where Russia has made some incremental gains – and I want to focus on the word ‘incremental’ – is Bakhmut,” Kirby conceded. “That really holds, as we’ve said before, very little strategic value for Russia. The capture of Bakhmut would absolutely not alter the course of the war in Russia’s favor, and Ukraine’s defenses in the areas surrounding Bakhmut still remain strong,” Kirby added.
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Kirby also clarified that roughly half of the 20,000 Russian forces killed in Bakhmut had been fighting on behalf of Wagner, rather than for Russia directly.
Referring to a months-long recruitment effort by Wagner, which controversially targeted Russia’s prison population Kirby said, “Folks he [Wagner Group founder Yevgeny Prigozhin] went knocking around on the doors in prison cells throughout Russia to throw human flesh at this fight.”
Despite providing detailed casualty figures for Russian troops, Kirby refused to provide casualty numbers for Ukraine. “I’m not ever going to put anything out in the public domain that’s going to make their job harder,” Kirby said.
“They are the victims here. Russia is the aggressor.”
While it is no secret that Bakhmut has been a strategic foothold that has since turned into a “meat-grinder” for both Ukrainian and Russian forces in recent months, it is suspected that Kirby is estimating such a stunning number of Russian casualties as a way to establish a “pyrrhic victor’ narrative for the U.S. Kirby briefly acknowledged that Russia is winning in Bakhmut, but skirted the around the idea of Ukraine not doing well in the overall conflict, most likely due to the massive cost of the battle in Bakhmut and thousands of lives sacrificed for the effort.
However, as Zerohedge notes, to put the seemingly large number of estimated Russian casualties into perspective, total U.S. casualties in Vietnam were almost 60,000 killed in combat and more than 150,000 wounded after a decade of fighting.
- CIA Finally Admits Publicly Zelensky & Top Ukrainian Generals Have Skimmed Millions In U.S. Aid – Bakhmut Withdrawal Begins
- Russian Official – At Least 75% Of Bakhmut Is Controlled By Russian Forces