Zelensky Reveals 31,000 Troops Killed Since Conflict With Russia

President Volodymyr Zelensky reveals that the conflict with Russia has resulted in the deaths of 31,000 Ukrainian soldiers.

He refrained from disclosing the number of injured soldiers, stating such information could benefit Russian military strategy.

This follows the defence minister’s statement that delays in receiving half of the Western support for Ukraine have led to losses in both lives and land.

President Zelensky announced on Sunday his intention to update the casualty count as a counter to the exaggerated numbers presented by Russia.

“31,000 Ukrainian soldiers have died in this war. Not 300,000 or 150,000, or whatever Putin and his lying circle are saying. But each of these losses is a great loss for us.”

Addressing the broader impact of the conflict, President Zelensky mentioned that tens of thousands of civilians have perished in the regions of Ukraine under Russian occupation, yet the exact figure remains uncertain.

“I don’t know how many of them died, how many were killed, how many were murdered, tortured, how many were deported.”

The disclosure of military casualties by Ukraine is uncommon, and alternative sources indicate the death toll could be considerably higher.

Estimates from US officials last August suggested up to 70,000 Ukrainian soldiers had been killed, with injuries reaching as high as 120,000.

Regarding Russian casualties, Zelensky estimated 180,000 deaths and tens of thousands more injured.

A collaboration between BBC Russian and Mediazona has documented over 45,000 deaths among Russian military personnel, suggesting the actual number might be even higher.

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

Zelensky’s comments were in part a response to his defence minister, Rustam Umerov, who criticized the delay in receiving military aid from Western allies.

“At the moment, commitment does not constitute delivery,” he said.

Ukraine faces several challenges in its effort to reclaim territories occupied by Russia.

Mr. Umerov pointed out that the shortage of supplies puts Ukraine at a further disadvantage in the strategic calculations of the conflict.

He stated, “We do everything possible and impossible, but without timely supply, it harms us.”

Germany issued a warning in November that the European Union’s (EU) commitment to send a million artillery shells by March would not be fulfilled.

By January, the EU disclosed that slightly more than half of these supplies would be delivered by the deadline, with the full promised amount delayed until the end of 2024.

President Zelensky mentioned that the delay in receiving weapons was one of the reasons why Ukraine’s eagerly awaited counter-offensive last year started later than planned.

This counter-offensive largely did not succeed, marking one of the numerous obstacles Kyiv has encountered after initially repelling Russian advances following the invasion in February 2022.

President Zelensky also revealed on Sunday that the plans for the counter-offensive might have been leaked to Russia beforehand.

Recently, it was confirmed that Ukrainian forces had retreated from the strategic eastern town of Avdiivka, marking a significant victory for Moscow in recent times.

President Zelensky partially attributed this setback to inconsistent supplies of Western weaponry.

Meanwhile, the Biden administration has noted that delays in Congress regarding a $60 billion aid package for Ukraine played a role in the loss of the town.