TENS of thousands of Russian prisoners recruited by the Wagner group to fight in Ukraine have been killed or deserted, according to a report from independent media.

Scores of murderers, rapists, robbers, and drug traffickers were released from Russian gulags to take up arms against Ukraine after Russia invaded last February.

But according to Russian news outlet Meduza, journalist and Russia Behind Bars founder Olga Romanova said: “According to our data, 42-43 thousand [prisoners] were recruited by the end of December. Now they are, most likely, already over 50 thousand. Of these, ten thousand are fighting at the front, because all the rest are either killed, or three hundredth, or missing, or deserted, or surrendered.”

Meanwhile – according to estimates released by Norway’s army chief yesterday – Vladimir Putin’s total losses are approaching 180,000 – nearly a year on from the start of the Ukraine war.

“Russian losses are beginning to approach around 180,000 dead or wounded soldiers,” Norwegian Chief of Defence Eirik Kristoffersen said in an interview on state television yesterday.

Read our Ukraine war blog below for the latest news…

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