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Pro-Kremlin tabloid stealth edits report that 9,861 Russian soldiers have been killed in Ukraine

More than 9,800 Russian troops have been killed and more than 16,000 wounded since the invasion of Ukraine began on Feb. 24, according to data from the Russian Defense Ministry cited in and then removed from an article in a pro-Kremlin tabloid, The Wall Street Journal reported Monday.

Journal foreign affairs correspondent Yaroslav Trofimov tweeted a screenshot of the article, which began by citing Ukrainian claims that over 14,000 Russian troops have been killed.

"The Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation refutes the information," the article claimed. "According to the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation, during the special operation in Ukraine, the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation lost 9,861 [soldiers] killed" and "16,153 ... injured."

The Russian casualty figures were removed from the Komsomolskaya Pravda article four hours after it was published on Sunday afternoon. Mark Graham, who manages the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine, helped The Week locate the original version. The version currently accessible on Komsomolskaya Pravda's website makes no mention of the update.

In 2015, The Moscow Times reported that Komsomolskaya Pravda is part of a select group of Russian news outlets known as "our guys" whose news editors have yellow phones on their desks that link directly to the Kremlin.

If the casualty numbers are accurate, it would mean that, in less than four weeks, the Russian military has lost more than double the number of U.S.-led coalition troops killed during the entire nine-year Iraq War.

Russia's last official casualty report was released on March 2 and claimed that 498 Russian troops had been killed and 1,597 wounded.

On March 12, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said 1,300 Ukrainian soldiers had been killed since the invasion began.

Update: 11:015 p.m. ET: This story has been updated to include an archived version of the Komsomolskaya Pravda story that matches the content shown in the screenshot. The headline has been modified accordingly.