Alexander Khodakovsky, commander of the DNR Vostok Battalion, reported in an interview with “Dialog Channel” that his battalion suffered 200 dead and 300 wounded, during the course of 2016. To put that into perspective, Julian Röpcke, who tallies the official Ukrainian military casualty figures, states that in 2016, the Ukrainian army suffered 225 dead and 1342 wounded.

Khodakovsky, a former SBU (Security Service of Ukraine) Alpha unit commander, who was DNR “Deputy Prime Minister” from May to July 2014, and has been DNR “Security Minister” since May 2014, has become famous for exhibiting candor, eloquence, and intellect that is typically absent from other figureheads of Russia’s proxy DNR/LNR militant groups. The following is a brief list of his more attention-grabbing statements:

Khodakovsky (00:24:18) states:

We have officially confirmed, in 2016, 200 dead and around 300 wounded. That’s about 70% of the number of casualties that we suffered in the period of the year 2014-2015. 2016, strange as it seems, is the year of an incomprehensible truce, which brought Vostok such casualties.

Khodakovsky’s outspokenness and his tendency to contradict Kremlin propaganda, have led many observers to speculate whether he’d be the next DNR/LNR figurehead to meet an untimely demise.