MoD mocks embarrassing Russian losses– but sends Black Sea alert as Putin readies armada

Richard Lloyd Parry talks about strains on Russian soldiers

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The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) described the loss of two major vessels – the landing ship Saratov and cruiser Moskva – as “embarrassing”. But it warned that the fleet is still able to “strike Ukrainian and coastal targets”. It also claimed that around 20 Russian ships, including submarines, are stationed in the Black Sea operational zone.

Russia has taken a high number of losses in the fighting so far.

Around 15,000 Russian troops are thought to have been killed, according to UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace.

Ukraine’s estimate is higher, putting Russian casualties at up to 21,900 troops.

But on March 25, Russia itself reported just 1,351 deaths.

Mr Wallace said that 2,000 Russian armoured vehicles had been destroyed or captured, including 530 tanks and more than 60 Russian helicopters and fighter jets had been lost.

Earlier this week, it was revealed that Putin’s 36th colonel has also been killed during the invasion – Lieutenant Colonel Oleg Yevseev.

Lt-Col Yevseev was a commander of the 291st Artillery Brigade of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation.

Around eight generals are also thought to have died.

Speaking to CNN last week, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that about 2,500 to 3,000 Ukrainian soldiers have been killed.

In an update posted on 28 April 2022, the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) said: “Approximately 20 Russian Navy vessels are currently in the Black Sea operational zone, including submarines.

“The Bosporus Strait remains closed to all non-Turkish warships, rendering Russia unable to replace its lost cruiser Moskva in the Black Sea.

“Despite the embarrassing losses of the landing ship Saratov and cruiser Moskva, Russia’s Black Sea Fleet retains the ability to strike Ukrainian and coastal targets.”

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The UK, along with Western allies, has been supplying Ukraine with weapons in order to support its resistance against Russia.

The West has also imposed harsh sanctions on Putin’s regime, leaving up to £275bn worth of Russian assets frozen, according to the UK Government.

This is equivalent to 60 percent of Russian foreign currency reserves.

The Government said that Russia is “heading for the deepest recession since the collapse of the Soviet Union” as a result of the sanctions.

Western allies are also phasing out imports of Russian energy.

But yesterday, Russia hit back by cutting off energy supplies to Poland and Bulgaria after the two countries refused to pay in rubles.

Mr Zelensky dismissed the move as “blackmail”, while European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said it showed Russia was an “unreliable” energy partner.

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