Putin Makes Rare Announcement Regarding War Imprisonments

Putin provided an unusual update on fatality and prisoner-of-war counts from Russia’s conflict in Ukraine this week. However, his numbers ran counter to Western assessments of the human toll of his invasion, which is still continuing.

Putin informed the leaders of several foreign news agencies at a conference on June 5th in St. Petersburg that there are 1,348 Russian soldiers and officers held in captivity in Ukraine, while 6,465 Ukrainians are in Russian prison. Additionally, he said that Ukraine had lost five soldiers for every one that Moscow had suffered.

He said that Russia’s losses, especially irretrievable losses, are much lower compared to the other side. Ukrainian and American officials have pointed out that the Russian president’s assertions are wrong.

The most recent statistics from the battlefield indicate that since the conflict started in February 2022, Russia has endured 515,000 casualties, with over 50,000 of those losses being fatalities. Since there are no accurate reported casualty figures for Kremlin forces, the actual number of losses may be far greater.

While Western intelligence agencies put the number of casualties among Ukrainian forces far higher, President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine put it at 31,000 in February.

Russia can endure significantly greater death tolls because of its bigger population and severe conscription techniques, even though Ukraine’s casualties seem to be lesser than Russia’s.

Over 4 million people, primarily women, children, and the elderly, fled from Ukraine during Russia’s invasion.  Zelensky demanded war-eligible men to return to Ukraine.

President Volodymyr Zelensky approved a measure in April lowering the conscription threshold to 25 in an effort to increase the size of his military in preparation for another challenging year of defending against Russia.

Despite the fact that any Ukrainian citizen over the age of 18 may voluntarily enlist in the military, the previous minimum age of 27 for conscription had prevented the compulsory military service of the majority of young males, including many students. Martial law regulations still prevent any male within the age range of 18 and 60 from exiting the country as they may be required for the war.