Russia says 498 of its soldiers killed, 1,597 wounded in Ukraine

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Russia said Wednesday that 498 Russian troops had been killed in Ukraine, its first announced death toll since President Vladimir Putin launched an invasion of the country last week.

“498 Russian servicemen have died in the line of duty,” defense ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said in a statement broadcast on state television, adding that “1,597 of our comrades have been wounded.”

Ukraine says the number is far higher.

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Moscow had previously admitted to losses but without giving any numbers.

Konashenkov said that he wanted to “once again underline that neither conscripts nor cadets of educational institutions of the Russian defense ministry are participating in the special operation.”

Russian independent organizations that help parents find their sons have told AFP that conscripts were taking part in the conflict, having been made to sign documents before crossing the border.

Konashenkov called reports that Russia had suffered far greater losses “centralized disinformation.”

Russia has said that its army is working to “de-Nazify” Ukraine.

Putin gave the order for Russian troops, who for weeks had been massing on Ukraine’s borders, to attack last Thursday.

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