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Russia loses 10,000 men in just four weeks as full toll of Ukraine invasion is revealed

Russia has lost almost 10,000 soldiers in less than four weeks in Ukraine, according to its own figures.

The death toll – an incredible tally for a war that the Kremlin believed would be over within days – was published by a pro-government website, but quickly taken down.

There was speculation that it was uploaded by a pro-Ukrainian employee. Russia had previously admitted to 498 deaths – but that was on March 2.

Last night’s figures said 9,861 soldiers had died in Ukraine, with 16,153 injured. About 15,000 Soviet troops died in Afghanistan after the 1979 invasion – but that was over ten years. 

Ukraine has put the Russian dead at 15,000 – but the latest figures are higher than US estimate of 7,000.

The death toll was part of an update from Moscow’s defence ministry – and, while they were quickly removed from the website of Komsomolskaya Pravda, a pro-government tabloid, they remained on the archive last night.

Though the figures offer an insight into Ukraine’s military successes, there were signs last night that the war was turning Russia’s way. 

A destroyed Russian vehicle near Pryluky in Chernihiv, Ukraine. The vehicle appeared to have been penetrated with high caliber bullet

Russian President Vladimir Putin (pictured) listens to the Governor of Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Area Dmitry Artukhov during their meeting in Moscow on Monday

Russian President Vladimir Putin (pictured) listens to the Governor of Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Area Dmitry Artukhov during their meeting in Moscow on Monday

Dead Russian soldiers understood to be loaded onto a train at night

Dead Russian soldiers understood to be loaded onto a train at night

Locals of Odessa (pictured on Monday) learn war tactics and how to handle weapons as Russian troops surround the city

Locals of Odessa (pictured on Monday) learn war tactics and how to handle weapons as Russian troops surround the city

A UK intelligence report – seen by the Daily Mail – said Moscow’s forces are making significant breakthroughs.

They have more effectively used drones to strike Ukrainian targets on the ground. 

Russian forces have also destroyed a number of Turkish-made TB2 drones, which have proved highly effective against its troops and equipment.

Ukrainian ground-to-air defence systems may also have been destroyed, the report suggests, as increasing numbers of missiles have been finding their targets.

Russian rockets have struck a training base for foreign fighters – killing 35 and wounding 134 troops – an aircraft repair facility and underground silos storing Kyiv’s stockpile of Western weapons.

The report explains how Russia, after replenishing its artillery supplies, has ‘steadily increased its bombardment of various cities, particularly Mariupol, Kharkiv, Sumy and Chernihiv’.

UK defence analysts have also expressed concern that Russia’s Kinzhal hypersonic missile can bypass anti-missile defence systems. 

Analysts also questioned previous Western assessments that Ukrainian air defences remained effective.

The intelligence report says Russia intends its ‘total destruction’ of Mariupol to ‘serve as a warning to other cities’. 

It said: ‘The pattern of destruction of food and water supplies, targeting of civilians, indiscriminate use of firepower to advance, is already being repeated elsewhere. This is based on effective lessons learned [by the Russians] in Syria.’

A police officer stands guard at the wreckage of a damaged shopping mall in Podilskyi district of Kyiv

A police officer stands guard at the wreckage of a damaged shopping mall in Podilskyi district of Kyiv

An unexploded rocket is pictured in the cemetery of Mykolaiv, southern Ukraine, on Monday

An unexploded rocket is pictured in the cemetery of Mykolaiv, southern Ukraine, on Monday

A view to the site of an explosion as a result of a missile strike into the shopping mall in Kyiv on Monday

A view to the site of an explosion as a result of a missile strike into the shopping mall in Kyiv on Monday

In another alarming assessment, Kyiv fears there is a ‘high likelihood’ of Belarus joining Russia’s invasion. 

Its armoured forces are expected to head south, ‘likely towards Lviv’, in western Ukraine.

On a visit to London, Ukraine’s defence minister Oleksii Reznikov said: ‘Several small cities have simply been wiped off the face of the earth. 

‘Moscow is afraid of our army so they are fighting civilians.’

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Read more at DailyMail.co.uk