Ukraine troops
On Monday, March 20th, Ukraine's official defense ministry spokesman, Andrey Lysenko, claimed that only 2,629 Ukrainian soldiers have been killed and 9,453 wounded since the beginning of the war against Donbass.According to Russian analyst and military specialist Alexander Khrolenko, Kiev is dramatically understating its real losses and covering up Ukraine's progressive disintegration as a state.

According to official UN figures, the total number of casualties in the war in East Ukraine amounts to 32,856, or 10,056 killed and 22,800 wounded. Meanwhile, German intelligence estimated in only 2015 that dozens of thousands of Ukrainian troops had been killed, the total number of civilian and military casualties in the conflict reaching up to 50,000.

The understating of losses not only fails to match up to other international estimates, but it contradicts Ukraine's own figures on equipment and vehicle losses. Khrolenko mentions Ukraine's Apostrof's report that "the Ukrainian army has lost more than 300 tanks, more than half of armored fighting vehicles, as well as 50% of artillery systems." After the Battle of Ilovaysk, Khrolenko recalls, Ukrainian President Poroshenko himself spoke of "60-65% of military equipment on the front lines in the conflict zone destroyed."

Khrolenko questions official Ukrainian logic: "Maybe these thousands of pieces of equipment of the Ukrainian Armed Forces were destroyed separately from soldiers, and all crews, paratroopers, and artillery crews were left alive?...After all, on the field of battle, tanks and infantry fighting vehicles burn, as a rule, with their crews."

Citing the International Institute for Strategic Studies Military Balance 2013 and 2016 reports, Khrolenko points out: "Thus, the Ukrainian Armed Forces' likely losses over three years of the punitive operation in Donbass amount to around 30,000 men," a figure suggested by comparing military equipment, vehicle, and personnel losses.

These massive losses, Khrolenko, clarifies, are a testimony to the failure of Ukraine's war against Donbass: "For more than a thousand days and nights has dragged on a civil war which was the logical conclusion of the 'revolution of dignity', a 'color' project of the US and EU. Over this period of time, the Ukrainian Armed Forces have conducted dozens of offensive (punitive) operations to try to capture residential areas on the territories of the DPR and LPR. Practically all of them have ended in failure."

The Kiev leadership and 'children of the Maidan', Khrolenko says, have not learned their lesson. Anti-Russian rhetoric cannot hide forever that Ukraine's "Anti-Terrorist Operation" in Donbass has become a black market hub while the country is economically collapsing, the Minsk Agreements are not being fulfilled, and Kiev's troops and radical neo-Nazis are shooting each other.

Meanwhile, the Investigative Committee of Russia has 104 criminal cases open on Ukrainian crimes in Donbass, and in 2016 more than 100,000 Ukrainians sought and acquired Russian citizenship, a 49% increase from 2015.

"With such a tempo, the Anti-Terrorist Operation could return all of Ukraine to Russia within 30-40 years," Khrolenko concludes.