Guardian UK, Valentina Melnikova, head of the Committee of Soldiers’ Mothers, the main organisation representing the troops’ families, said an estimated 7,000-8,000 Russian troops were believed to be in Ukraine.
According to her estimates, between 10,000-15,000 troops have been deployed to Ukraine in recent weeks.
The Committee of Soldiers’ Mothers and Citizen and the Army, another rights group representing servicemen, said they did not have any officially confirmed casualty lists. Other rights campaigners, citing information from relatives and military personnel, said at least 200 members of the armed forces might have died in Ukraine.
Sergei Krivenko, head of Citizen and the Army, and Ella Polyakova, who leads Soldiers’ Mothers in St Petersburg, said an estimated 100 soldiers from the 18th Infantry Brigade in Chechnya were believed to have died in Ukraine.
Ukrainian volunteer battalions claim “hundreds” of their men have been killed and dozens taken prisoner after pro-Russian forces reneged on an agreement to allow them to withdraw from a besieged town 20 miles east of Donetsk.
The losses came during attempts to withdraw from Ilovaisk, a town of southeast of Donetsk where a Ukrainian force had been surrounded for more than 10 days.
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