Medvedchuk and the Kremlin have denied that he pulled strings for the Kremlin in Kyiv
Medvedchuk and the Kremlin have denied that he pulled strings for the Kremlin in Kyiv SPUTNIK via AFP / Mikhail KLIMENTYEV


  • Medvedchuk constantly told the Russian leader about the popularity of pro-Russian views in Ukraine
  • Russian Defense Minister Shoigu believed the invasion would not be similar to the annexation of Crimea
  • Russia has lost over 187,000 fighters in the war in Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin's decision to launch the full-scale invasion of Ukraine was allegedly influenced by some of his acquaintances, a recent report revealed.

Among those who allegedly influenced Putin to attack Ukraine was his friend and Ukrainian politician Viktor Medvedchuk. A source with knowledge of the matter told the independent Russian media outlet Vertska that Medvedchuk constantly talked to Putin about the popularity of pro-Russian views in Ukraine.

"He told tales, spent that money paid to him for organizing political opposition, and did not believe that anyone would ever check him," one of the sources told the outlet, as translated by The New Voice of Ukraine. "He talked about (Ukrainian) loyalty (to Russia), effectively deceiving Putin."

Yuriy Kovalchuk, who is reputed to be Putin's personal banker, also played a role in influencing the Russian leader to invade Ukraine by arguing that Europe was suffering from internal divisions.

Another source also revealed that discussions of the invasion were happening as early as February 2021— a full year before Putin launched his so-called "special military operation" to "demilitarize" and "de-Nazify" Ukraine.

One such discussion occurred in October 2021 during the Valdai discussion club and again in December 2021. On both times, the source said many people disagreed with the assumption that Putin could quickly change the regime in Ukraine. However, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu "rejoiced" at the notion of a regime change in Kyiv.

"He believed that Putin knew something he didn't, and actually thought it would be something not much more serious than the annexation of Crimea," the source told the publication.

Putin eventually launched the war in February 2022. It is unclear how many Russian and Ukrainian troops have been killed in combat to date. The Kremlin and Kyiv have not released official death tolls amid the war.

However, estimates from the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine suggest Russia has lost a total of 187,770 soldiers over the past 14 months. The figure includes 690 fighters killed over the past day.

Assessments collated by the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency said Russia has suffered up to 223,000 war casualties, including 35,5000 to 43,000 deaths and 154,000 to 180,000 wounded.

In contrast, the assessment said Ukraine has suffered between 124,500 to 131,000 casualties, including 15,500 to 17,500 deaths and 109,000 to 113,500 wounded.

Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a Security Council meeting via a video link