War in Ukraine: Zelensky Reports 31,000 Casualties Since Russia’s Entry

According to Volodymyr Zelensky, 31,000 Ukrainian soldiers have lost their lives in the midst of Russia’s full-scale invasion.

The Ukrainian president declined to provide the number of wounded to avoid aiding Russian military strategy.

Usually, Ukrainian authorities do not release casualty numbers, while other estimates are significantly greater.

Following the defence minister’s statement, a significant portion of Western aid for Ukraine has been delayed, resulting in loss of lives and territory.

On Sunday, Mr Zelensky announced a revised death toll in reaction to the exaggerated numbers provided by Russia.

31,000 Ukrainian soldiers have lost their lives in the conflict. It’s not 300,000 or 150,000, or whatever Putin and his deceitful group are claiming. However, each of these setbacks is a significant loss for us.”

Discussing the broader impact of the conflict, Mr. Zelensky mentioned that tens of thousands of civilians had lost their lives in the regions of Ukraine under Russian occupation, although the exact figure remains uncertain.

“I’m unsure about the number of casualties, those who were victims of violence, and those who were forcibly removed.”

Ukraine rarely discloses military casualties, with other estimates indicating a higher figure.

In August, US officials reported that 70,000 Ukrainian soldiers had been killed and up to 120,000 injured.

According to Mr. Zelensky, 180,000 Russian soldiers have been killed and tens of thousands more injured in the conflict.

BBC Russian, in collaboration with the Mediazona website, has identified over 45,000 Russian service members who have passed away. However, it predicts the overall figure to be higher than that.

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In February, the UK’s defence ministry reported that an estimated 350,000 Russian troops had been killed or injured.

President Zelensky’s speech followed criticism from his defence minister, Rustam Umerov, towards the country’s Western allies for the slow delivery of military assistance.

“Right now, commitment doesn’t equate to delivery,” he stated.

Ukraine is facing several challenges in its efforts to push Russia out of its territory.

According to Mr Umerov, Ukraine’s disadvantage is exacerbated by the shortage of supplies, which he described as a crucial factor in the conflict.

“We make every effort and go to great lengths, but without prompt supply, it hinders us,” he stated.

In November, Germany cautioned that the European Union (EU) might not be able to deliver a million artillery shells by March as planned.

In January, the EU stated that slightly more than half of these would be delivered to Ukraine by the deadline, with the full promised amount not expected until the end of 2024.

President Zelensky mentioned that Ukraine’s long-awaited counter-offensive from last year was delayed due to insufficient weapons.

The counter-offensive was largely unsuccessful, adding to the series of setbacks Kyiv has experienced following some initial victories in pushing back Russia since its invasion in February 2022.

On Sunday, Mr Zelensky implied that the plans for the counter-offensive were shared with Russia before the operation.

Last week, Ukrainian troops withdrew from the key eastern town of Avdiivka, marking Moscow’s biggest victory in months.

Mr Zelensky also attributed this in part to the declining Western weapon supplies.

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The Biden administration, meanwhile, has said the hold-up in Congress of a $60bn aid package for Ukraine contributed to the fall of the town.

Western leaders visited Kyiv on Saturday to express support for Ukraine as the country commemorated two years since Russia’s full-scale invasion.

An announcement was made regarding Italy and Canada signing security deals with Ukraine to strengthen support until the country could join Nato.

Canada’s agreement involved over three billion Canadian dollars (£1.7bn) in financial and defence assistance.

Other countries are also facing challenges in funding their military operations, not just Ukraine. Russia is facing challenges in supplying ammunition and weapons, as reported by Western officials.

A Western official stated that Russia’s current ammunition production capabilities are inadequate to support the demands of the conflict in Ukraine.

They mentioned that Moscow has managed to boost its supply by exploring other sources of ammunition and weapons, but this is not a sustainable solution.

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