Serhiy Hayday made the claims on August 4, as he said Russia was replenishing the ranks of their infantry with the kidnapped residents. In a Telegram, he wrote: “They don’t bother counting the casualties, because mostly it’s the residents of the occupied territories who die.
“The Russians don’t need them in the future, because for eight years the population of the so-called ‘LPR’ (the part of Luhansk Oblast occupied by Russia since 2014) has been a burden on the Russian state budget. Now the men are ‘working off’ these financial losses.”
According to Hayday, “everyone who can be mobilised has already been mobilised on the territories that have been occupied since 2014,” and “now even irreplaceable miners are being taken away.”
He added: “Those who didn’t have time to evacuate to safe regions of Ukraine are suffering now.
“They are sent to military registration and enlistment offices against their will.”
Hayday said that from the town of Starobilsk, the Russians have sent around 80 people to the front lines this week alone.
He said: “They replenish the assault groups that the Armed Forces of Ukraine regularly neutralise.”
It comes after reports that some 41,350 Russian soldiers have been killed since the war began on February 24.
Russian forces are being forced to redistribute personnel and supplies in the face of fierce Ukrainian counter-offensive operations, according to the Institute for the Study of War (ISW).
In its latest intelligence briefing, the ISW found Russian troops were increasingly transferring personnel and equipment to Kherson and western Zaporizhia Oblasts at the expense of their efforts to seize Slovyansk and Siversk, which they appear to have abandoned.
They are also redeploying military equipment – artillery and aviation in particular – to Crimea from elsewhere in Ukraine.
They previously suspended the offensive on Kharkiv City and the southern axis to prioritise capturing Luhansk Oblast, but this was on the request of commanders.
The difference now is that the Russian troops are responding to the Ukrainian counteroffensive threat in Kherson Oblast rather than deliberately choosing objectives on which to concentrate their efforts.
The ISW concludes: “Ukraine’s preparations for the counteroffensive in Kherson and the initial operations in that counteroffensive combined with the dramatic weakening of Russian forces generally appear to be allowing Ukraine to begin actively shaping the course of the war for the first time.”
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Ukrainian forces successfully destroyed three Russian ammo depots in the Kherson and Kakhovka districts while Vladimir Putin’s attempts to land strikes fell flat, according to Ukrainian Operational Command South.
The Russian ammunition depots in Kherson, Prydniprovsk and Tokarivka were reportedly taken out by the missile and artillery units of the Ukrainian Armed Forces.
The command also confirmed that the Russian forces on the southern front lost 39 servicemen, four S-300 anti-aircraft missile systems, an Imbir radar station, a Voloshka 82-caliber automatic mortar, as well as nine trucks and armored combat vehicles.
In response, Russian troops intensified their artillery and air strikes.
Russian warplanes attacked Ukraine’s positions 16 times along the contact line and struck recently liberated settlements but no casualties were reported.