Intelligence chiefs are understood to have said Russia is prepared to lose up to 50,000 troops, while the Russian death toll could already stand at around 3,000.
It is feared that Putin will order military chiefs to use ‘chemical weapons’ and ‘attack hospitals’ as fighting continues in Ukraine, with Kyiv currently remaining under Ukrainian control.
Weapons expert Hamish de Bretton-Gordon told The Mirror: ‘If Russia gets bogged down I wouldn’t be at all surprised if they used chemical weapons.’
Intelligence chiefs are understood to have said Russia is prepared to lose up to 50,000 troops (pictured), while the Russian death toll could already stand at around 3,000
It is feared that Vladimir Putin (pictured) will order military chiefs to use ‘chemical weapons’ and ‘attack hospitals’ as fighting continues in Ukraine
It comes as a document, signed by Deputy Health Minister Plutnitsky, has asked medical firms to ‘be promptly involved in activities aimed at saving lives and preserving the health of people in Russia’.
Russian medical companies have been ordered to send a list containing the details of medical specialists and workers to the health ministry, so the civilian staff can be deployed, according to the documents obtained by ITV News.
Emma Burrows, ITV’s news editor, said the documents, which were dated February 25, indicate that Russia is anticipating a ‘massive health emergency’.
The health ministry is specifically looking for medics specialising in trauma, maxilofacial and heart, as well as nurses, paediatrics, anaesthetists and radiologists.
The document says deployed workers will be offered travel and accommodation expenses and will also be paid by the Federal Centre of Medical Disasters.
A military official told ITV News that the letter demonstrates that the Russians ‘did not expect to dace such a level of resistance and losses’.
Kyiv’s defence ministry has so far put Russia’s losses at around 2,800 troops, 80 tanks, 516 armoured vehicles, and 10 airplanes and seven helicopters so far.
Those losses and the continued failure to seize Kyiv have left Vladimir Putin furious, according to Estonia’s former defense chief Riho Terras.
Terras wrote on Twitter: ‘Putin is furious, he thought that the whole war would be easy and everything would be done in 1-4 days.
Kyiv’s defence ministry has put Russia’s losses at around 2,800 troops. Pictured: Servicemen take part in a review of Chechen Republic’s troops and military hardware
Servicemen take part in a review of the Chechen Republic’s troops and military hardware at the residence of Ramzan Kadyrov, head of the Chechen Republic
Smoke rises from a Russian tank destroyed by the Ukrainian forces on the side of a road in Lugansk region on Saturday
‘The Russians are in shock of the fierce resistance they have encountered.’
A senior US defence official claimed Russia is facing more resistance than Moscow anticipated in its invasion of Ukraine, and appears to have lost some of its momentum.
In an article titled ‘A Reckless Gamble’, Professor Freedman backed this theory.
He wrote: ‘Despite the superiority of Russian forces they made less progress than might have been expected on the first day of the war when they had the advantages of tactical surprise and potentially overwhelming numbers.
‘The Ukrainians demonstrated a spirited resistance and imposed casualties on the invaders.’
Meanwhile, the Ukrainian health minister said 198 people have been killed and more than 1,000 wounded in the Russian offensive. Viktor Lyashko said there were three children among those killed.
His statement was unclear whether the casualties included military and civilians. He said another 1,115 people, including 33 children, were wounded in the Russian invasion.
It was later reported that a further 19 civilians were killed in shelling in Ukraine’s east, while two were reported killed in a strike on a tower block early on Saturday – bringing the civilian death toll to 219.
Russian Defence Ministry spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov claimed Saturday that since the start of Moscow’s attack, its military had hit 821 Ukrainian military facilities, 87 tanks and other targets.
Kyiv’s military is far inferior to its Russian counterpart with an air defence system and air force dating back to the Soviet era
A column of Russian military vehicles is seen near the village of Oktyabrsky, Belgorod Region, near the Russian-Ukrainian border, on February 26, 2022
On Saturday morning, the upper floors of a building in Kyiv were struck by a Russian rocket (pictured). Reports suggesting at least two people were killed in the explosion
Konashenkov didn’t say how many Ukrainian troops were killed and didn’t mention any casualties on the Russian side. Neither his claims nor Ukraine’s allegations that its forces killed thousands of Kremlin troops could be independently verified.
As fighting raged on in the Ukraine, a Ukrainian city southwest of Kyiv was rocked by two huge explosions shortly after midnight local time on Sunday.
Local newspaper The Kyiv Independent wrote that an oil depot had been blown up at Vasylkiv, a city which sits around 40 kilometres south west of Kyiv. A gas pipeline was also blown up in Kharkiv, a city in eastern Ukraine which sits close to the Russian border.
Video footage showed a mushroom cloud fill the city’s sky as the fuel transport line was destroyed, with a group of people who filmed the clip heard exclaiming with shock as the ball of flames erupted into the sky.
Ukrainian TV station Nexta shared footage of flames and black clouds billowing into the sky at the site of the Vasylkiv attack as the fuel burned. It has also since shared a clip of the moment the oil depot was struck, with a bright white glow filling the darkened night sky as the fuel store ignited.
Russia was widely-expected to step-up its attacks on Ukrainian infrastructure in a bid to try and cower locals into submission.
A police vehicle is seen patroling the streets as a curfew has been imposed from Saturday 5 PM to Monday 8 AM local time on February 26, 2022 in Kyiv, Ukraine
Ukrainian tanks move on a road before an attack in Lugansk region on February 26, 2022
A destroyed Russian military vehicle is seen on the roadside on the outskirts of Kharkiv on February 26, 2022, following the Russian invasion of Ukraine
A fragment of a destroyed Russian tank is seen on the roadside on the outskirts of Kharkiv on February 26, 2022
The Vasylkiv blasts – said to have been triggered by Russian ballistic missiles – filled the skies over Kyiv with an eerie orange glow in the early hours of Sunday morning. It is unclear if anyone was injured or killed in the explosions.
The explosions were first reported by CNN and stuck close to the Ukrainian capital’s secondary airport, Boryspil International. They took place around 15 minutes apart, and set of car alarms miles from the explosion epicentre.
Vasylkiv mayor Natalia Balasynovych told the Independent that her city and its airfield sustained heavy shelling from ballistic missiles. She said: ‘The enemy wants to destroy everything around, but he will not succeed. Hold on!’
Vasylkiv had suffered heavy Russian bombardment in the early hours of Saturday, as Russian troops fought to try and seize control of a key strategic staging post on the road to Kyiv.
Kyiv’s 2.9 million citizens face another night of terror as it was claimed Russia will step up its bombardment on Saturday night, and target commercial businesses in a bid to destroy Ukrainian morale.
Many have fled to underground shelters in a bid to stay safe, although other men and women have taken to the streets with weapons in a bid to fend off any Russian advance.