Ukraine Latest: 100,000 Russians Killed or Wounded, US Says

Russian troops blew up bridges on the right bank of the Dnipro river in the occupied Kherson region

A Ukrainian artillery unit fires towards Russian positions outside Bakhmut on Nov. 8. Photographer: Bulent Kilic/Getty Images
A Ukrainian artillery unit fires towards Russian positions outside Bakhmut on Nov. 8. Photographer: Bulent Kilic/Getty Images

General Mark Milley, the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Wednesday that more than 100,000 Russians and probably the same number of Ukrainian forces have been killed or wounded in the war, according to the Associated Press. 

Russian troops were ordered to withdraw from Kherson, the southern Ukrainian city that was the first major urban center seized in its invasion, after Kyiv’s troops pressed forward with a counteroffensive. 

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, speaking in a televised briefing, told the commander of Moscow’s forces to pull out of the city and regroup on the other side of the Dnipro river.

President Vladimir Putin won’t attend the Group of 20 summit next week, people familiar with the planning said, as the Kremlin seeks to protect him from potential high-level tensions over his invasion of Ukraine. And at a White House press conference on Wednesday President Joe Biden said: “I’m told that President Putin is not likely to be there.” 

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Key Developments

  • Russia to Exit Kherson, Its First Big City Seized in Ukraine
  • Putin to Skip G-20 Indonesia Summit, Facing Cold Shoulder
  • Russia Seeks to Dial Back Putin’s Nuclear War Threat Again
  • Russia Is Moving WNBA’s Griner to a Penal Colony, Lawyers Say
  • Russian Energy Cuts to Cost Tiny Moldova More Than $1 Billion

On the Ground

Russian troops blew up bridges on the right bank of the Dnipro river in the occupied Kherson region and strengthened fortifications near the Kakhovka hydroelectric dam, Serhii Khlan, deputy of Kherson regional council, said at a briefing. Russian forces launched major attacks overnight in the Dnipropetrovsk region with drones, five of which were shot down, local authorities said on Telegram, adding that four people were injured in the city of Dnipro. 

(All times CET)

Milley Says 40,000 Civilians Dead or Wounded (7:43 a.m.)

Milley, speaking at the Economic Club of New York on Wednesday night, put the toll of Russian forces killed or injured since the war began in February as “well over 100,000,” according to the Associated Press. He added that about the same number of Ukrainian forces have been killed or wounded, as well some 40,000 Ukrainian civilians.

He said that the pending Russian retreat from Kherson and a potential standoff over the winter could provide a chance for negotiations to end the war, according to the AP report.  

“There has been a tremendous amount of suffering, human suffering,” he said 

Biden Says Putin Not Likely to Attend G-20 Summit (1:45 a.m.)

Biden said he’s been told Putin is unlikely to attend the upcoming Group of 20 summit in Indonesia, removing the possibility of an awkward encounter between the two leaders.

“I’m told that President Putin is not likely to be there,” Biden told reporters on at the White House on Wednesday. Bloomberg News reported earlier Wednesday that Putin would skip the summit, citing people familiar with the planning, as the Kremlin seeks to protect the Russian president from potential high-level tensions over his invasion of Ukraine.

Biden also said that he hoped Russia would be more willing to engage in talks about a prisoner swap to free WNBA star Brittney Griner now that the US midterm elections are over. Griner, whose appeal against a nine-year sentence was rejected by a Moscow court last month, s being moved to a penal colony, her lawyers said Wednesday. 

Move From Kherson Sign of ‘Real Problems’ in Russian Military, Biden Says (22:57 p.m.)

US President Joe Biden told a news conference in Washington that the US “knew for some time” that Russia was preparing to pull troops from Kherson and called it “evidence of the fact that they have some real problems, the Russian military.” He said it was interesting that Russia had waited until after the US election to decide to announce a withdrawal.

“It will lead to time for everyone to recalibrate their positions over the winter period, and that remains to be seen whether or not -- there’ll be a judgment made as to whether or not -- Ukraine is prepared to compromise with Russia,” Biden said.

Ukraine Had to Fight to Liberate Kherson, Zelenskiy Says (10:13 p.m.)

Russia didn’t give Ukraine any “presents” and the nation has to “fight for everything” when it comes to retaking territories, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said in his daily statement. It was his first comment on Russia’s announcement of a troops pullback from Kherson. 

“We are moving with much caution, without emotions and with no extra risks,” he said. “This is how we will liberate Kherson, Kakhovka and Donetsk. This is going to be the result of our efforts, our defense operations.”

US State Department Approves Possible Weapons Sale to Lithuania (9:39 p.m.)

The State Department approved a possible sale of weapons to Lithuania for an estimated $495 million, according to a release from the Defense Security Cooperation Agency.

The sale, which includes eight M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System Launchers and related equipment, will help improve the military capability of a NATO ally that is important for political stability and economic progress within Eastern Europe, according to the statement.

UK to Provide 1,000 More Missiles to Ukraine (7:02 p.m.)

The UK is providing Ukraine with an extra 1,000 surface-to-air missiles, Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said.

The equipment consists of launchers and missiles and can be used to shoot down airborne targets including Russian drones and cruise missiles, the ministry said in a statement.

Energy Cuts to Cost Moldova More Than $1 Billion (6:51 p.m.)

Russian supply cuts and air strikes in Ukraine will cost Moldova more than $1 billion this winter to cover additional energy costs, according to a draft document. The sum amounts to 8% of one of Europe’s poorest economies. 

The 19-page draft, to be presented to foreign diplomats and leaders ahead of a Nov. 21 support conference for Moldova in Paris, describes a sustained campaign by Moscow and local “criminal groups” to bring down the pro-Western government of the nation wedged between Ukraine and Romania by stoking turmoil. 

Chechen Leader Lauds Kherson Pullback (6:39 p.m.)

Kremlin-backed Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov praised Sergei Surovikin, the general in charge of Russian forces in Ukraine, for the pullout, saying it saved “a thousand soldiers” that had been effectively surrounded in Kherson.

Instead of holding on to Kherson which is difficult to defend, Kadyrov said Russian forces are relocating to another, more strategically advantageous position.

Russian Inflation Slows After Putin’s Call-Up (5:09 p.m.) 

Russian inflation decelerated to the lowest since Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, though risks are on the rise after the Kremlin’s call-up of reservists to fight in the war.

Data on Wednesday showed annual inflation slowed to 12.6% in October, a slightly larger decline than forecast by economists in a Bloomberg survey. It decelerated for a sixth month from a peak of almost 18% in April. 

Ukraine Latest: 100,000 Russians Killed or Wounded, US Says

Top Putin Aide Visits Iran as Weapons Bolster Russia’s War (4:43 p.m.) 

Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev met with top Iranian leaders in Tehran as the two nations pledged to deepen relations to counter pressure from the US and its allies.

Russia regards “strategic cooperation” with Iran as an important element of its national security, Patrushev said at talks with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, the state-run Tass news service reported. While the Kremlin denies using Iranian equipment, it has relied increasingly on drones from Tehran as it burns through its own stockpiles of missiles in attacks on Ukraine.

Russia to Exit Kherson, Its First Major City Seized in Ukraine (4:10 p.m.) 

“I understand that this is a very difficult decision,” Surovikin told Russia’s defense minister in proposing the move. “At the same time, we will save the lives of our servicemen and, in general, the combat capability of the group of troops, which is futile to keep on the right bank in a limited area.”

The retreat marks another major defeat for the Kremlin after Ukraine retook large areas of territory around Kharkiv in the east over the summer. Kherson was the first regional capital to fall in Russia’s Feb. 24 invasion and was among the territories the Kremlin claimed to annex in illegal referendums held in September. Putin said at the time the areas would be Russian forever.

Putin to Skip G-20 Indonesia Summit, Facing Cold Shoulder (4:08 p.m.) 

Ending months of suspense, the Russian leader’s decision avoids potential confrontations with other world leaders, including US President Joe Biden, who has labeled Putin a “war criminal.” The Kremlin also risked Putin being shunned by European leaders at the Nov. 15-16 summit on the Indonesian island of Bali.

Russia will send Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Putin’s place, one of the people said. They spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss matters that aren’t yet public. Spokespeople from the Foreign Ministry and Kremlin didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

EU Delivers €18 Billion Funding Package for Ukraine (2:06 p.m.) 

The European Union unveiled its €18 billion ($18 billion) package to help cover Ukraine’s financial needs next year as part of a fixed system after promised disbursements were delayed for months. The package will include highly concessional loans with borrowing costs covered by the bloc, which could amount to €630 million annually, according to the European Commission’s estimate.

EU Budget commissioner Johannes Hahn said he’s confident lingering reluctance among some member states can be overcome, with initial payments slated for January. Hungary said it won’t support changes in EU budget rules to borrow the funds on the markets.

(Updates with Milley quote. An earlier version corrected that casualties included those killed and wounded, not just killed.)

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