- Sputnik International, 1920, 25.02.2022
Situation in Ukraine
On 24 February, Russia launched a special military operation amid Kiev's ongoing shelling of the DPR and LPR. President Vladimir Putin stated that the op is meant to protect the people of Donbass, and its goal is the complete demilitarisation and denazification of Ukraine.

MoD: 498 Russian Servicemen Die During Special Operation in Ukraine

© Sputnik / Press Service of the Russian Defence Ministry / Go to the photo bankThe Defence Ministry's spokesman, Igor Konashenkov
The Defence Ministry's spokesman, Igor Konashenkov - Sputnik International, 1920, 02.03.2022
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The ministry added that 1,597 more Russian servicemen have been injured during the operation, begun by President Vladimir Putin on 24 February. The declared goals of the operation are the demilitarisation and denazification of Ukraine, as well as defence of the Donbass republics.
Russia's Defence Ministry has released the first official military casualties resulting from the special operation in Ukraine, saying that 498 Russian soldiers died in the line of duty.
A further 1,597 Russian servicemen have sustained injuries of varying degree during the operation, the ministry added.
The defence ministry stressed that reports of "countless" losses among the Russian military are fake and deliberately spread by the media. The Defence Ministry's spokesman, Igor Konashenkov, said that reports that Russia had used conscripts and cadets of the military institutions in the operation are also false.

Progress of Special Operation

The spokesman also shared the latest information on casualties among Ukrainian servicemen and nationalist battalions: about 2,870 were killed and 3,700 injured. Russia's Defence Ministry and President Vladimir Putin earlier repeatedly addressed the Ukrainian military calling on them to ignore criminal orders from the nationalist authorities.
Konashenkov added that the nationalist battalions are preparing "provocations" and are using the civilian populations of Ukrainian cities as human shields.
The Russian Defence Ministry also reported on how the special operation was progressing, saying that Russian forces have taken control of the towns of Krasny Liman, Torskoye, Kremnenaya, Varvarovka and Borovenki. The ministry also said that a humanitarian corridor has been created south-west of Kharkov.
Konashenkov added that the forces of the Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) have circled the city of Mariupol controlled by Kiev's forces. Mariupol is on the northern coast of the Sea of Azov.
The Defence Ministry's spokesman noted that the Russian military are carrying out an operation to defuse the threat of Ukraine getting nuclear weapons and having NATO military bases installed on its territory.
Before the start of the operation, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky repeatedly threatened to withdraw from the Budapest Agreement under which the newly created Ukraine gave up the nuclear arsenal it inherited from the USSR in exchange for security guarantees. Zelensky claims that those guarantees were violated. President Vladimir Putin, in turn, noted that it would not take Ukraine much time to recreate the technologies to create nuclear weapons and warned that Russia sees this potential as an existential risk for itself.
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