The Russian army has suffered “significant losses” in its conflict in Ukraine, said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Thursday.
“We have significant losses of troops,” Peskov, the chief spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin, said in an interview with Sky News. “It’s a huge tragedy for us.”
Since the start of the war, which started Feb. 24, Moscow has provided few updates regarding its own troops’ casualties or vehicles that have been lost.
In recent days, Russia has left Kyiv and Chernihiv after not being able to seize the capital. The move, Peskov said, “was a goodwill act to lift tension from those regions and show Russia is really ready to create comfortable conditions to continue negotiations.”
“Our military is doing its best to bring an end to that operation,” Peskov added in the interview with Sky News. “And we do hope that in the coming days, in the foreseeable future, this operation will reach its goals or will be finished by the negotiations between the Russian and Ukrainian delegation.”
Peskov was again asked about alleged atrocities that were committed in the Kyiv suburb of Bucha last week as Russian forces pulled out of the area. Ukrainian officials over the weekend accused Russia of carrying out extrajudicial executions of civilians, which Russia has categorically rejected.
The spokesman said the videos that purport to show Ukrainians in Bucha with hands tied behind their backs are a “well-staged insinuation, nothing else.”
“We deny the Russian military can have something in common with these atrocities and that dead bodies were shown on the streets of Bucha,” Peskov said.
During a Thursday United Nations session, a majority of states voted to remove Russia from the U.N. Human Rights Council over the Bucha allegations. A deputy Russian official later announced that Moscow would instead quit.
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield said the United Nations “sent a clear message that the suffering of victims and survivors will not be ignored.”
“We ensured a persistent and egregious human rights violator will not be allowed to occupy a position of leadership on human rights at the U.N.,” she said in remarks to be delivered to the General Assembly later on Thursday.
Ninety-three countries voted in favor of booting Russia from the Council, while 24 voted against it and 58 abstained from voting. China, Iran, Syria, and Belarus were among those who voted against the measure.
Speaking after the vote, Russia’s deputy U.N. Ambassador Gennady Kuzmin described the move as an “illegitimate and politically motivated step” and then announced that Russia had decided to quit the Human Rights Council altogether.
Reuters contributed to this report.