1708893934 Zelensky puts the number of dead soldiers at 31000 and

Zelensky puts the number of dead soldiers at 31,000 and admits that Ukraine is in “its most difficult moment” | International

On the first day of the third year since Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine, President Volodymyr Zelensky noted for the first time the number of his country's soldiers killed in the conflict. The Ukrainian leader admitted this Sunday that the number of dead on his side is 31,000, without wanting to reveal the number of wounded so as not to give Moscow any clues about the troops he maintains at the front. Yes, he has published the number of casualties that his government says his army has inflicted on the enemy: 500,000, of which 180,000 would be killed. He also admitted that Ukraine, which is on the defensive after its failed counteroffensive and lack of ammunition, is in “the most difficult moment.”

The Ukrainian president's reported death toll for each side – five Russian soldiers for every one from Ukraine – is much higher than that reported by the US last summer during Kiev's counteroffensive. There are also deviations in the overall numbers. U.S. officials claimed in August that the death toll on the Russian side at that time was 120,000 and between 170,000 and 180,000 wounded. Meanwhile, Ukraine would have lost 70,000 (between 100,000 and 120,000 wounded), meaning that the fallen Russian soldiers, although significantly outnumbering the Ukrainian ones, were not even twice as many, according to the New York Times.

Ukraine has around 500,000 members of its army, while Russia almost triples that number with 1.3 million troops. Zelensky has not explained how his government counted his deaths, but most likely they were confirmed deaths where the body was recovered. The Kyiv executive office responsible for prisoners of war said on January 24 that there were “tens of thousands” of missing soldiers, according to its head Yuri Taraniuk.

On February 19, independent Russian media Mediazona, in collaboration with the BBC, announced its own estimate of confirmed Russian deaths in Ukraine, which was 44,654 soldiers. The research to determine this number was based on public sources such as obituaries, comments from relatives on social networks, news published in regional media and information from local authorities. The figure also does not take into account the tens of thousands of soldiers whose bodies may have been left on the battlefield and who are considered missing.

As for civilian casualties, at least 10,582 people have died and nearly 20,000 have been injured since the war began, according to data released Saturday by the United Nations Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine.

President Zelenskyj, this Sunday in Kiev. President Zelenskyy, this Sunday in Kiev. VALENTYN OGIRENKO (Portal)

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The visibly tired Ukrainian president presented these data at a press conference after the Ukraine 2024 Forum, an event launched by Kiev to breathe optimism into a society that is showing signs of fatigue with a stagnant front and its declining cycle starts running out of ammo and rotations. Its second largest financial and arms donor after the EU, the US, blocked a 56 billion euro aid package in the House of Representatives, with the Republican majority in favor of Donald Trump, that party's most likely candidate for the White Party, favorite in the polls and whose position regarding support for Zelensky's government is unknown.

The President has not escaped the difficulties in which his country finds itself. “Now is the most difficult moment for our unity and if we all fall apart externally and God forbid internally, then this will be the weakest moment. “That hasn't happened yet,” he said. He also stressed the critical importance of the coming months. “The third year is a turning point. An election year [en EE UU]Suddenly the challenges from outside and from within become blurred… I think the way the war ends will depend on this year.

“It’s not a question of money, we need weapons.”

Despite the halt in financial and military flows from Washington, Zelensky expressed optimism about his arrival, but assured that it would happen within “a month.” “We must understand that it is not a question of money, we need weapons,” he explained. “We will be weakened on the battlefield [si la ayuda no llega]†. “We have the weapons we have,” he added. “We have no choice but to win.” There is no way to lose. And if we are strong in arms, we will win,” he explained.

The president's warnings come at the time of the invaders' biggest initiative since the start of the war. Russia has picked up speed again and is attacking hard on the eastern and southern fronts. After the Ukrainian withdrawal from Adviivka, just outside Donetsk, on February 17, Kremlin troops advanced even further, occupying the village of Lastochkine and putting pressure on the Kiev army with large amounts of infantry and equipment. The Russians also advanced into Kherson, where shelling from tanks, mortars, artillery and drones was reported throughout the day. According to the province's governor, Oleksander Prokudin, members of his army crossed the Dnieper River and attacked five villages in Kiev-controlled territory.

Zelensky warned that the situation could get even worse. “Russia is preparing a counteroffensive for early summer or towards the end of May, if it can,” he said, downplaying the invaders’ operations in recent days. “The attack they launched on October 8 did not bring them any results,” he continued. He also assured that Ukraine has a plan to counter the major advances that Moscow is planning and about which it has refused to reveal details in order not to give clues. “Our counteroffensive last fall took place in the Moscow offices before we began,” he assured.

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