“According to our estimates, most of them were most likely killed or missing, rather than injured,” the report said.
After the strike, the Russian military took the rare step of publicly admitting that it had suffered casualties, claiming 89 dead, the report notes. Russian officials likely concluded that it was impossible to avoid comment in the face of widespread criticism of the Russian command over the incident.
The difference between the number of victims acknowledged by Russia and the likely true total is indicative of the pervasive presence of disinformation in Russian public statements.
This is usually due to a combination of deliberate lies sanctioned by senior management and the transmission of inaccurate reports by more junior officials seeking to downplay their shortcomings as they could be fired, the British Ministry of Defense said.