The head of the Chechen Republic of Russia has confirmed casualties among soldiers fighting in Ukraine.
Russia invaded the neighboring country last week, arguing that it was defending the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, which broke off from Ukraine following the 2014 coup in Kiev. Ukraine said that the attack was entirely unprovoked and rallied the international community for help.
Two soldiers from Chechnya were killed and six were wounded, Ramzan Kadyrov wrote on social media on Tuesday, without elaborating.
He claimed that the fallen troops “had an order to minimize civilian casualties in Ukraine, which they did.”
Kadyrov also urged Ukrainian soldiers to defect and fight “side by side” with the advancing Russian forces.
The heads of the Dagestan and Kalmykia Republics of Russia have each confirmed the deaths of one soldier from each region.
The Defense Ministry first acknowledged that an undisclosed number of Russian soldiers were killed or taken prisoner on Sunday – the fourth day of the invasion.
Many countries, including the US, UK, and EU member states, have imposed sweeping sanctions on Russia.
Russians and Ukrainians held the first round of peace talks in Belarus on Monday, without tangible results.