Russian forces have suffered devastating losses – up to 20,000 troops – in their months-long attempts to capture Bakhmut and Soledar in Donetsk Oblast, Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak said in an interview with Ukrainian TV Channel 24 on Jan. 12.
“It is impossible to say the exact losses the Russian army has on this axis,” Podolyak said. “But it's not a thousand or two, it's 10,000, 15,000 or even 20,000 (troops) over the entire time of hostilities at Bakhmut and Soledar. They don't count losses there.”
The official was presumably talking about total combat losses – including wounded soldiers – and not just those killed in action.
According to him, Russians threw on Soledar practically all combat-ready units they had, including the remnants of their professional army – paratroopers and Wagner mercenraies.
Podolyak argues that the occupation of the won't help Moscow turn the tide of the war.
"I only feel sorry for the number of our guys who have to hold an assault rifle in their hands 24 hours a day in a -17-degree Celsius weather,” he added.
“It's tough; we're losing our people, too.”
Earlier, Ukraine’s Operational Command East spokesman Serhiy Cherevyi reported that Russia had deployed the bulk of its, including Wagner's mercenaries, near Soledar in Donetsk Oblast.
According to the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, since the start of the full-scale invasion, total combat losses of the Russian military are at 113,390 troops.