Moscow (The Times Groupe)- The number of foreign mercenaries in Ukraine has nearly halved from 6,600 to 3,500 since the Russia-Ukraine war began in late February, the Russian Defense Ministry said on Thursday.
Mercenaries have almost stopped arriving in Ukraine since the beginning of May, according to ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov.
Konashenkov said the lack of combat experience and low level of training cause heavy losses for foreign fighters.
The Ukrainian military chiefs, protecting their soldiers, are also using mercenaries in the most difficult war zones, Konashenkov said.
The relatives of mercenaries in the countries of residence simply do not know they have died due to Kyiv’s hush-up of losses and the absence of remains.
“Mercenaries face a real combat situation and heavy losses among the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the National Guard, which causes them to want to leave the country as soon as possible, but the Kyiv regime prevents them from leaving,” Konashenkov said.
He then reported on the strikes carried out by the Russian army in Ukraine on Wednesday night.
Russia shot down one of Ukraine’s Su-25 fighter jets, while its air defense system brought down seven unmanned aerial vehicles, he added.
Moreover, he said 615 concentrations of manpower and military equipment, over 131 command points, several fuel depots, and 146 artillery and mortar batteries in firing positions were also hit.
Additionally, the aircraft hit an Osa-AKM air defense system, 10 tanks, and infantry fighting vehicles, three Grad multiple rocket launchers, seven artillery guns and mortars, and 18 special vehicles.
“In total, since the beginning of the special military operation, 186 aircraft, 129 helicopters, 1,084 unmanned aerial vehicles, 327 air defense systems, 3373 tanks and other armored combat vehicles, 460 multiple rocket launchers, 1,752 field artillery and mortar guns, as well as 3,350 units of special military vehicles have been destroyed,” he said.
UN estimates indicate that at least 4,149 civilians have been killed and 4,945 injured in Ukraine since the war began on Feb. 24, but the real number is believed to be much higher.
According to the UN refugee agency (UNHCR), over 6.8 million people have fled to other countries, while about 7.7 million have been internally displaced.