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Kremlin spokesman admits ‘we have big troop losses’, calls it ‘a huge tragedy’

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Dmitry Peskov, spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin, acknowledged in an interview published Thursday that Russia had suffered “significant troop losses” and called it a “huge tragedy”.

The remarks, which were made to Sky News, are a rare acknowledgment by Moscow of the difficulties Russia faced during its invasion of Ukraine.

Russia hasn’t provided many updates on its troop losses; previous figures reported by Moscow were significantly lower than Ukraine and NATO estimates.

The interview comes as Russian troops left the Ukrainian regions of Chernihiv and Kyiv, unable to quickly capture Ukraine’s capital as originally hoped.

Peskov claimed that Russia was acting out of “goodwill” by withdrawing from the two regions, telling Sky News: “It was an act of goodwill to lift the tension in these regions and show that Russia is really ready to create comfortable conditions for continuing the negotiations”.

However, US officials have expressed skepticism about Moscow’s withdrawal of its troops from these areas, with Pentagon press secretary John Kirby saying last week: “We believe this is a repositioning, not of a real withdrawal.

Peskov also denied accusations of Russian atrocities in Bucha, Ukraine, where photos and videos shared by Ukrainian officials showed bodies strewn in the streets with their hands tied behind their backs. He told Sky News that the situation in the Ukrainian city is a “well-staged innuendo, nothing more”.

“We deny that the Russian military could have anything in common with these atrocities and that corpses were shown on the streets of Bucha,” Peskov said.

Peskov also claimed that Russia had “very serious reasons to believe” that the Mariupol maternity hospital bombing was “untrue”.

The Kremlin spokesman continued to call Russia’s invasion of Ukraine an “operation” rather than a war. The assault on Ukraine led more than four million people to flee the country, according to data from the UN refugee agency, and killed or injured thousands of civilians.

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