Donetsk, Mar 3 - DAN. Ukrainian armed formations lost more than 500 gunmen in clashes during the special operation to liberate the Donetsk People’s Republic, DPR People’s Militia deputy commander Eduard Basurin said on Thursday.

“According to preliminary data, enemy losses since the beginning of the special military operation have amounted to:

 54th Separate Mechanized Brigade:  41 killed, 77 wounded,

53rd Separate Mechanized Brigade: 127 killed including Brigade commander and 72 wounded, and

36th Separate Marines Brigade: 103 killed and 129 wounded,” Basurin said.

More than 76 pieces of military hardware of 53rd and 36th Brigades have been destroyed, he said adding that over this period, 76 Ukrainian servicemen have voluntarily surrendered  to DPR militia; five of them are in hospital receiving quality assistance.

The special military operation aimed at demilitarization and denazification of Ukraine began overnight to February 24. Prior to it, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that the decision had been made after the request of the Donbass Republics’ leadership. The Russian leader emphasized that Moscow did not plan to occupy Ukrainian land and that the objective was to protect the people who had been subjected to abuse and genocide by the Kiev regime for eight years. *jk