Putin ‘prepared to lose 50,000 troops’ in Ukraine conflict as Russian casualties pile up

Vitali Klitschko says Russian troops are 12 miles from Kyiv

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The leader is not worried by the death toll of his soldiers, sources have said. While figures for Russian casualties have not been officially released by Moscow, Ukrainian deputy defence minister Hanna Malyar said on Sunday that as many as 4,300 Russians may have died in the fighting so far. An aide to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy claimed that Ukraine has taken an additional 200 prisoners of war.

Meanwhile, in an interview with Sky News, UK Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said that 450 Russian military personnel were killed in the first 24 hours of the invasion.

According to the Mirror, many of those killed are from Russia’s most experienced forces, such as the Spetsnaz and Airborne units.

Speaking to the paper, sources claimed that Putin is prepared to lose thousands more.

Weapons expert Hamish de Bretton-Gordon said that Putin may also be prepared to resort to chemical weapons if the Russian army gets “bogged down”.

He said: “If Russia gets bogged down I wouldn’t be at all surprised if they used chemical weapons.

“We must call Russians out and create red lines around chemical weapons use and attacking hospitals.”

The Mirror reported that MI6 agents are sending reports to NATO from the ground in Russia.

But it is feared that Russian agents in the UK may engage in “diversionary tactics”.

So far, 198 Ukrainians have been killed in the conflict.

An additional 1,115 Ukrainian citizens have been injured during Russia’s attack, 33 of them children, Ukraine’s health minister Viktor Liashko said.

Protests have been taking place across Russia in opposition to the war.

Hundreds of people have so far been detained at the marches, which have been taking place since Thursday.

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Protest tracking group OVD-Info, which has been banned in Russia for being a “foreign agent”, reported that 1,820 demonstrators were detained in 58 Russian cities on Thursday night, including 1,002 in Moscow.

On Friday, they counted 437 detentions in 26 Russian cities, 226 of which were in Moscow.

Fighting has been ongoing since Putin declared war on Ukraine in the early hours of Thursday morning.

Russian forces entered the country through Belarus, Russian-backed separatist regions and Crimea.

Earlier today, Moscow ordered nuclear deterrent forces to be on “high alert”.

Putin said the escalation was in response to “unfriendly economic sanctions” and “aggressive statements” from Western countries.

In a televised meeting, the Russian leader said: “Western countries aren’t only taking unfriendly economic actions against our country, but leaders of major NATO countries are making aggressive statements about our country.

“So I order to move Russia’s deterrence forces to a special regime of duty.”

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