According to US intelligence services, at least 7,000 Russian troops have been killed as at 16 March 2022 (source New York Times); a number that seems extravagant.

On its side, the Russian Defense Ministry reported that the total count at 25 March 2022 - i.e. nine days later - stood at 498 dead soldiers, or 14 times fewer losses.

It is very difficult for an army to track its casualties during combat. Many soldiers can disappear on the battlefield and turn up later.

In every war, at least one side, if not both, publish false figures to support their version of events. However, at the end of the war, the truth quickly comes to light.

As a matter of principle, no figure can be taken at face value during the hostilities. The truth lies rarely in between; more often than not, it is one side which is lying but not the other.