Putin Announces Nearly 700,000 Russian Troops Engaged in Ukraine Conflict
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By The Smartencyclopedia Staff Writer with Agencies 

MOSCOW – Russian President Vladimir Putin announced on Friday that almost 700,000 Russian troops are currently engaged in combat operations in Ukraine. The statement was made during a televised meeting with decorated participants from the ongoing offensive, reflecting the significant scale of Russia’s military involvement.

“In the zone of our special military operation there are almost 700,000,” Putin stated, underscoring the substantial increase in troop numbers from previous figures. At his end-of-year press conference in December, Putin had cited 617,000 troops participating in combat, with 244,000 of them mobilized specifically for the operation.

The updated figure comes in the wake of Russia’s major ground assault launched in Ukraine’s northeastern Kharkiv region in May. Despite the increased military engagement, Moscow has remained reticent about the losses sustained during the conflict, which it continues to refer to as a “special military operation.”

The last official casualty figure released by Russia was in September 2022, when it reported 5,937 soldiers killed in combat. However, independent analyses and assessments by Western intelligence services estimate Russian fatalities to be in the tens of thousands, suggesting a much higher toll than officially acknowledged.

Russia’s numerical advantage on the battlefield contrasts with the challenges faced by Ukraine. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has openly discussed issues with staffing and morale within Ukraine’s military ranks, which are often outgunned and outnumbered. In response, Kyiv has lowered the conscription age and imposed stricter penalties for draft evasion to bolster its forces.

“We need to staff the reserves… A large number of brigades are empty,” Zelensky told AFP in May, highlighting the pressing need for additional personnel. In February, Zelensky revealed that approximately 31,000 Ukrainian soldiers had been killed in the first two years of the conflict.

As the war drags on, the disparity in manpower between the two nations remains a critical factor. Putin’s latest announcement reinforces Russia’s commitment to sustaining its military operations in Ukraine, while Ukraine continues to grapple with the immense human and logistical costs of the ongoing conflict.

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