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Ukraine claims more than 25,000 Russian servicemen have died since invasion began

The Russian death toll amid Putin’s war in Ukraine now stands at more than 25,000, according to the Land Forces of Ukraine’s latest figures.

A total of 25,500 Russian soldiers have been killed in bitter fighting, while Putin’s forces have lost 1130 tanks, 199 planes, 156 helicopters, 509 artillery systems and 2741 armoured personnel carriers, the Land Forces claim.

The startling figures come as Europe and Ukraine celebrate Victory in Europe Day (VE Day), marking the triumph of the Allies over Nazi Germany in 1945.

Russian forces meanwhile are engaged in bloody battles all along the eastern front from Kharkiv to Mariupol as Putin tries to secure some kind of victory to bolster Russia’s Victory Day celebrations tomorrow, May 9.  

Western estimates of the Russian death toll in Ukraine are somewhat lower, but still place the losses to the Kremlin’s forces upwards of 15,000.

It comes as Russia lost its 39th high-ranking officer on the battlefield today. 

Lt-Col Fezul Bichikaev, 36, was killed in a skirmish near Ukraine’s second city Kharkiv, where Ukrainian forces have mounted a counter-offensive to take a number of nearby towns. 

An intelligence update posted yesterday by Britain’s Ministry of Defence said several of Putin’s senior commanders are being forced onto the battlefield ‘to take personal leadership of operations’ due to ‘faltering Russian performance on the frontline’.

A total of 25,500 Russian soldiers have been killed in bitter fighting, while Putin’s forces have lost 1130 tanks, 199 planes, 156 helicopters, 509 artillery systems and 2741 armoured personnel carriers, the Land Forces of Ukraine claim.

Russian forces are engaged in bloody battles all along the eastern front from Kharkiv to Mariupol as Putin tries to secure some kind of victory to bolster Russia's Victory Day celebrations tomorrow, May 9 (Ukrainian artillery shoot from their positions at an undisclosed in the area of Kharkiv, Ukraine, 07 May 2022)

Russian forces are engaged in bloody battles all along the eastern front from Kharkiv to Mariupol as Putin tries to secure some kind of victory to bolster Russia’s Victory Day celebrations tomorrow, May 9 (Ukrainian artillery shoot from their positions at an undisclosed in the area of Kharkiv, Ukraine, 07 May 2022)

War World II veteran, Ivan Lisun, 97, wears a jacket with his medals and pins outside his house which was damaged after a Russian bombing, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in Zolochiv near Kharkiv, Ukraine, May 6, 2022

War World II veteran, Ivan Lisun, 97, wears a jacket with his medals and pins outside his house which was damaged after a Russian bombing, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, in Zolochiv near Kharkiv, Ukraine, May 6, 2022

Russia lost its 39th high ranking officer on the battlefield today. Lt-Col Fezul Bichikaev, 36, was killed in a skirmish near Ukraine's second city Kharkiv, where Ukrainian forces have mounted a counter-offensive to take a number of nearby towns

Russia lost its 39th high ranking officer on the battlefield today. Lt-Col Fezul Bichikaev, 36, was killed in a skirmish near Ukraine’s second city Kharkiv, where Ukrainian forces have mounted a counter-offensive to take a number of nearby towns

A view of the statue of Ukrainian philosopher Hryhoriy Skovoroda standing in the damaged Hryhoriy Skovoroda Literary Memorial Museum after shelling in Skovorodynivka village near Kharkiv, Ukraine, 07 May 2022

A view of the statue of Ukrainian philosopher Hryhoriy Skovoroda standing in the damaged Hryhoriy Skovoroda Literary Memorial Museum after shelling in Skovorodynivka village near Kharkiv, Ukraine, 07 May 2022

‘Difficulties in command and control, as well as faltering Russian performance on the front line, have drawn senior commanders onto the battlefield, likely to take personal leadership of operations,’ the MoD tweeted yesterday.

‘However, it is not clear that the presence of these commanders on the battlefield has led to a refined or altered operational concept. Flawed planning assumptions and failures in sustainment continue to undermine Russian progress.

‘The forward deployment of commanders has exposed them to significant risk, leading to disproportionately high losses of Russian officers in this conflict. This has resulted in a force that is slow to respond to setbacks and unable to alter its approach on the battlefield.’

The Russian onslaught has been met with staunch resistance in Ukraine, forcing Putin and his military leaders to abandon plans to take Kyiv earlier in the war and focus their assault exclusively on the eastern Donbas region. 

But the Ukrainian military is also thought to have sustained major losses in the defence of their nation – though authorities have not released an official number of casualties. 

Meanwhile, the prosecutor general’s office of Ukraine announced this morning at least 225 children have been killed in the conflict, with another 413 having sustained injuries. 

Iryna Venediktova’s office said the numbers given only include confirmed deaths and injuries to children in Ukraine since February 24, and does not take into account estimated deaths in current combat areas, meaning the true toll is likely to be much higher. 

Authorities estimate more than 20,000 civilians have been killed in the besieged southern city of Mariupol alone since Russia began a indiscriminate bombing campaign of the coastal metropolis just days into the war.

And upwards of sixty people are feared dead in one attack yesterday, after a school in the eastern region of Luhansk was subject to a direct hit from a Russian airstrike. 

Around ninety people were sheltering in the school’s basement in Bilohorivka, but just 30 had been rescued as of this morning, with two confirmed dead.

Prosecutor of Ukraine Iryna Venediktova's office said at least 225 children have been killed in the conflict, with another 413 having sustained injuries

Prosecutor of Ukraine Iryna Venediktova’s office said at least 225 children have been killed in the conflict, with another 413 having sustained injuries

Burning debris is seen, after a school building was hit as a result of shelling, in the village of Bilohorivka, Luhansk, Ukraine, May 7, 2022

Burning debris is seen, after a school building was hit as a result of shelling, in the village of Bilohorivka, Luhansk, Ukraine, May 7, 2022

Only parts of the building remained standing after it suffered a direct hit from a Russian airstrike yesterday

Only parts of the building remained standing after it suffered a direct hit from a Russian airstrike yesterday

British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss tweeted today: ‘Horrified by Russia’s latest attack on a school in Luhansk, resulting in the deaths of innocent people sheltering from Russian bombardment.’

She said the deliberate targeting of civilians and infrastructure ‘amounts to war crimes’ and ‘we will ensure Putin’s regime is held accountable’.

In a stirring video released this morning to mark VE Day – known as the Day of Remembrance and Reconciliation in Ukraine – President Volodymyr Zelensky drew a number of comparisons between Nazi leader Adolf Hitler and Vladimir Putin.

He also reeled off a list of famous European cities and landmarks that were destroyed by Nazi bombing campaigns in WWII and compared them to the Russian shelling of his country, as black-and-white footage of Luftwaffe bombing raids played in the background alongside clips of recent airstrikes in Ukraine. 

‘We will overcome everything. The proof of this is called ‘Werewolf’ – Hitler’s former headquarters and bunker near Vinnytsia. All that is left of it is a few stones- the ruins of a person who considered himself great and invincible.

‘Evil will not be able to hide in a bunker. There will be no stones left.

‘[Allies] remember the Nazi-destroyed Warsaw, and they see what was done to Mariupol. 

'Every year on May 8, along with the entire civilised world, we honour those who defended the planet from Nazism in World War Two... But we have not made it even a century. Our 'never again' lasted only 77 years. Evil has been reborn,' the President declared as he stood in front of a residential tower block building destroyed by Russian shelling

‘Every year on May 8, along with the entire civilised world, we honour those who defended the planet from Nazism in World War Two… But we have not made it even a century. Our ‘never again’ lasted only 77 years. Evil has been reborn,’ the President declared as he stood in front of a residential tower block building destroyed by Russian shelling

‘The British have not forgotten how the Nazis wiped out Coventry… how its historic centre, factories and St. Michael’s Cathedral were destroyed. They saw missiles hit Kharkiv and saw its historic centre, factories and the Assumption Cathedral destroyed.

‘They remember how London was bombed for 51 nights in a row, how V-2 rockets hit Belfast, Portsmouth, Liverpool, and they see cruise missiles hit Mykolaiv, Kramatorsk and Chernihiv.

‘The Dutch remember how Rotterdam was the first city to be destroyed by the Nazis when they dropped 97 tonnes of bombs on it. The French remember Oradour-sur-Glane, where the SS burned 500 women and children alive… They see what was done in Bucha, Irpin and Borodyanka.’ 

But the Ukrainian leader also proclaimed that Ukraine and its allied would emerge from the war victorious, declaring that ‘evil cannot avoid responsibility’ and ‘there will be peace again’.

‘Despite the beast’s new mask, [Ukraine and its allies] have recognised him. Because, unlike some, they understand what our ancestors fought for, and against.’

‘Our ancestors proved that no evil can avoid responsibility. It will not be able to hide in the bunker. There will be no stone left of it.

‘So we will overcome everything, and we know this for sure because our military and all our people are the descendants of those who overcame Nazism.

‘They will win again and there will be peace again,’ Zelensky said assuredly.

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