Ukraine has killed 45,850 Russian soldiers in the ongoing war, the Ukrainian military has said in its latest update. But Moscow, which tells Russians the conflict is a “special operation”, says that only 1,351 troops have been killed, according to its last update from March. However, cracks have appeared in the Russian propaganda machine, such as when pro-Kremlin tabloid Komsomolskaya Pravda revealed in March that 10,000 Russians had been killed, before deleting the figure, claiming its website had been hacked.
As the war rages on, Putin remains unaware of exactly how many troops have been killed, a military insider has revealed.
Dr John Callahan, an academic and former US State Department official, explained how the Russian President’s aides shield him from the true extent of Russian losses in Ukraine.
Speaking to Express.co.uk, he said: “Part of the reason they started this war is because the Russian cover-up to themselves was so effective that they believed it.
“If Putin knew how incompetent his military was, he would not have done this.
“There is a hell of a cover-up, and it is still going on.”
Dr Callahan compared Putin’s current situation to the portrayal of Adolf Hitler’s final days in German-language film, ‘Downfall’.
He said: “He was yelling at his generals, because he doesn’t really know what is going on and everybody is kissing his butt.
“Finally, they have to tell him that the army is not coming, and he loses his mind. Well, that could literally be Putin.”
On Wednesday, the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) also issued a damning assessment of Putin’s forces.
The intelligence update coincided with celebrations in Ukraine to mark the 31st anniversary of its independence from the Soviet Union.
Amid the Russian losses, Moscow has sent both generals and inexperienced conscripts to the frontline.
Dr Callahan said that military chiefs are aware of the situation but questioned how much of this information had filtered through to Putin.
He told Express.co.uk: “I think the Russian people don’t know. If they knew, we would know because it would get out.
“There are several levels to this. The Army knows what condition it is in. Whether Putin gets that information, I don’t know.
“As they become less and less capable of doing things, it leads to the question of, do they lie and just say that they suck?
“Or do they acknowledge the truth that their formations do not have enough infantrymen in them anymore to do things?
“Either way, they come off looking really bad. But they can either look stupid or they can tell the emperor he is naked and his system sucks.”
He added: “Maybe you are less likely to get shot if you just say you are stupid.”