Russian Colonel General Sergei Rudskoi, deputy head of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, said Friday that 1,351 Russian soldiers have died in Ukraine and 3,825 have been wounded, The Associated Press reported.
This report is far lower than estimates from NATO — which on Wednesday said Russian forces have likely suffered between 7,000 and 15,000 fatalities since the invasion began on Feb. 24 — and the United States, which placed Russian military deaths at around 7,000. In an address to the nation on Sunday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said "more than 14,000" Russian soldiers had been killed.
Rudskoi's report also contradicts numbers provided by the Russian Defense Ministry. On Sunday, the pro-Kremlin tabloid Komsomolskaya Pravda published an article citing a Russian Defense Ministry report that 9,861 Russian soldiers had been killed — a number more than seven times higher than the figure Rudskoi provided Friday — and over 16,000 wounded. The casualty figures were stealth edited out of the article four hours after it was published.
Komsomolskaya Pravda is reportedly 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.
AP notes that Rudskoi's report "did not appear to include the Moscow-backed separatists fighting in eastern Ukraine."