MOSCOW Ñ Russia has determined that the number of coalition
casualties is several times higher than that reported by Britain and the
United States, a former deputy defense minister said here.
On Tuesday, the Defense Department reported 96 U.S. casualties in the
nearly three-week-old war against Iraq. Nearly half of the casualties were
said to have been the result of friendly fire.
But Russian military intelligence is said to have placed the number of
soldiers killed and wounded at more than 800. Russia has a large
intelligence presence in Baghdad and in the oil regions, Middle East Newsline reported.
Gen. Vladislav Achalov, a former Soviet deputy defense minister, quoted
sources in Russian military intelligence as saying that as of Monday 340
British and U.S. soldiers were killed in the war in Iraq. Achalov said
another 500 coalition troops were wounded.
The figures cited by the Russian general were three times the number of
casualties reported by the Pentagon. Achalov said the United States
sustained additional losses on Monday when four armored personnel carriers
were destroyed in the battle for Baghdad and their crews killed.
Western intelligence sources said Achalov and another ex-Soviet general,
Igor Maltsev, served as key advisers in the upgrading of Iraq's air defense
command. On the eve of the war, Iraqi President Saddam Hussein honored both