Ukrainian servicemen are seen in a trench not far from Bakhmut, Donetsk region, on Jan. 27, 2023, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine. (AFP)

Ukrainian servicemen are seen in a trench not far from Bakhmut, Donetsk region, on Jan. 27, 2023, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine. (AFP)

Russia-Ukraine War

UK: Russia likely undercounts New Year’s Day strike casualties

The British Defense Ministry said Saturday that Russia “highly likely” suffered more than 300 casualties in a New Year’s Day strike on its troops in Ukraine at Makiivka near Donetsk City.

The British Defense Ministry said Saturday that Russia “highly likely” suffered more than 300 casualties in a New Year’s Day strike on its troops in Ukraine at Makiivka near Donetsk City.

The ministry said it believes that “the majority were likely killed or missing, rather than wounded.”

The ministry noted that while its Russian counterpart “took the rare step of publicly acknowledging” that it had suffered casualties, Russia claimed only 89 had been killed.

“[Russian President Vladimir] Putin has moved from a concept of [a] special [military] operation to a concept now of a war against NATO and the West,” Sannino said.

Russia has repeatedly denied targeting civilians in Ukraine.

Sannino’s comments came as Germany and the United States announced this week they will send advanced battle tanks to Ukraine, hoping to match the firepower Russia has on the ground.

The EU general said the new supplies from the West are not an escalation but rather an effort to give Ukraine a chance to defend itself. He said the developments have forced Putin to change his initial narrative, in which he described the invasion as a “special operation” to free Ukraine from a Nazi regime.

“Now we are speaking about a war with NATO and the West. Different story,” Sannino said.

Poland pledged Friday to send more tanks to Ukraine, promising an additional 60 tanks on top of 14 German-made Leopard 2 tanks it had already agreed to send.

Zelenskyy responded on Twitter, "Thank you ... Poland for these important decisions to deliver to Ukraine 60 Polish tanks — 30 of which are the famous PT-91 Twardy, along with 14 Leopards.”

Russian Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said Friday the supply of Western tanks to Ukraine would not help Kyiv’s military prospects but would rather “bring the countries of the West to a new level of confrontation with our country and our people.”

On Thursday, Zelenskyy expressed gratitude for the growing number of countries pledging advanced weaponry, including tanks, while at the same time pressing the need to hasten delivery of the promised weapons systems.

Zelenskyy said the only way to stop “this Russian aggression” is with “adequate weapons.” He emphasized, “The terrorist state will not understand anything else.”

The Ukrainian president also credited Western supplies for added protection from Thursday’s missile attacks. “Today, thanks to the air defense systems provided to Ukraine and the professionalism of our warriors, we managed to shoot down most of the Russian missiles and Shaheds,” he said in his address.

“Unfortunately, it is difficult to provide 100% protection with air defense alone. Especially when terrorists use ballistic missiles,” he added.

(SJ/VOA)

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