25/5/2023–|Last update: 5/25/202304:03 AM (Mecca time)
On Wednesday, the United States announced the ratification of the sale of qualitative weapons to Ukraine, and it also responded to confessions published by the commander of the Russian paramilitary Wagner Group about the death toll among his gunmen in the Battle of Bakhmut.
Washington said it would provide Kiev with a “NASAMS” air defense system and related equipment worth $285 million, as part of Ukraine’s efforts to strengthen its defenses against Russian strikes.
The “NASAMS” system, which is called “Sniper Aircraft and Marches”, is a medium-to-long-range “surface-to-air” missile defense system that Ukraine had requested from the United States of America, given that Russian weapons can hit targets more than 100 miles away.
The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency said in a statement that acquisition and deployment of the system “will enhance Ukraine’s ability to defend its people and protect critical national infrastructure.”
The statement added that the sale would not require the assignment of any US government employees or contractors to work in Ukraine.
The State Department approved the sale, and the Defense Security Cooperation Agency on Wednesday provided the required notification to Congress, which must approve the sale.
It is noteworthy that “NASAMS” is the system used by the United States to protect the airspace around the White House and the Capitol building (Congress) in Washington.
When Russia’s war on Ukraine began in February 2022, Ukrainian air defenses consisted largely of Soviet-era planes and batteries.
On Monday, Washington announced its approval of training Ukrainian pilots on F-16 fighters, stressing that it would not enable Ukraine to use Western military aid to strike Russia within its borders.
Bakhmut Battle Casualty Estimates
On the other hand, US State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said that US assessments indicate that the number of Russian dead and wounded in Bakhmut is estimated at 100,000.
Miller added, “According to our assessment, 20,000 is a much smaller number than the number of actual Russian losses in Bakhmut, and we have publicly said that the number of Russian losses is 100,000 in Bakhmut alone, and that includes dead and wounded.”
These statements came in response to what was published by the leader of the Wagner Group, Yevgeny Prigozhin, when he announced that about 10,000 prisoners recruited by Wagner from Russian prisons to fight in Ukraine had died on the front line in the Battle of Bakhmut, which lasted for months, and Moscow confirmed the completion of control of the city a few days ago.
Prigozhin said – in an interview published by pro-Kremlin blogger Konstantin Dolgov on Tuesday evening – “I chose 50,000 detainees, 20% of whom were killed,” noting that a similar percentage of his professional fighters also died in the fighting, without specifying their exact number.
He reported that the Ukrainian losses were much greater, and said, “My death toll is 3 times lower and the number of wounded is twice as high.”
This is the first time that Prigozhin has spoken publicly about the size of his group’s losses, while the Russian side seeks to maintain secrecy about the number of its dead and wounded as a result of the war.