Russia has made its first announced death toll since its fight against Ukraine, saying it has lost 498 Russian troops.
Speaking on death toll for the first time since President Vladimir Putin launched an invasion of the country last week, defence ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said in a statement broadcast on state television announced that: “Four hundred and ninety-eight Russian servicemen have died in the line of duty,” adding that “1,597 of our comrades have been wounded.”
Meanwhile, before the announcement, Ukraine’s ambassador to the United Nations accused Russia of seeking to commit genocide in his country, speaking at a rare General Assembly debate on Wednesday, more than a week after Moscow’s invasion.
“They have come to deprive Ukraine of the very right to exist,” Sergiy Kyslytsya told the Assembly ahead of a vote on a resolution demanding Russia withdraw its forces from the eastern European country.
“It’s already clear that the goal of Russia is not an occupation only. It is genocide.”
Russia’s envoy Vassily Nebenzia, speaking shortly after, accused Ukraine of “rampant neo-Nazism” and the West of using “open and cynical threats” to persuade other countries at the UN to vote in favor of the resolution.
He said Russia only wants to stop a separatist conflict in Donbas, in eastern Ukraine.
Russian President Vladimir Putin launched the full-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24. Moscow has pleaded “self-defense” under Article 51 of the UN Charter.
But that has been roundly rejected by Western countries who accuse Moscow of violating Article 2 of the Charter, requiring UN members to refrain from the threat or use of force to resolve a crisis.
It has been reported that the Ukrainian armed forces on Friday said they had inflicted heavy losses on Russia.
The Defence Ministry said 2,800 Russian soldiers had been lost.
It was unclear whether the soldiers were killed, wounded or captured.
He added that victory would be theirs: 2,800 Russian soldiers lost, 80 tanks, 500 military vehicles, 10 aircraft 7 helicopters destroyed.
The ministry also estimated that up to 80 tanks, more than 500 other military vehicles, 10 aircraft and seven helicopters had been destroyed.
The toll on soldiers and civilians was impossible to confirm and the sides gave conflicting information.
At that time Russia claimed that U has not suffered any significant losses.