Zelensky releases first official Ukrainian casualty count — RT World News

The Ukrainian president estimated the total number of troop deaths in Kiev at only 31,000 since the start of the Russian military offensive two years ago.

President Vladimir Zelensky announced that only 31,000 Ukrainian soldiers were killed during two years of fighting with Russian forces, claiming that the number of casualties was much lower than even the estimates of Kiev's Western donors.

Speaking on Sunday in the country's capital, Zelensky said so “31,000 Ukrainian soldiers were killed in this war – not 300,000, not 150,000, not anything else.” [Russian President Vladimir] Putin and his deceitful circle were lying. However, each of these losses represents a great sacrifice for us.”

Zelensky did not provide any estimates of the number of Ukrainian soldiers wounded or missing. claimed “Tens of thousands” of civilian deaths in areas occupied by Russian forces, but he acknowledged that exact numbers are not available. “We do not know how many civilians were killed.”

The alleged death toll represents the first official casualty figure announced by the Kiev regime since the conflict with Russia began in February 2022. The Russian Defense Ministry estimated the losses of Ukrainian forces at about 400,000 soldiers, including more than 215,000 soldiers in 2023 alone. That estimate was released last month, before Russian forces eliminated more than 1,500 Ukrainian soldiers while liberating the key Avdiivka stronghold in Donbas last weekend.

US officials told the New York Times last August that about 70,000 Ukrainian soldiers had been killed and up to 120,000 wounded. These same anonymous officials estimated Russian losses at up to 120,000 dead and 180,000 wounded. The casualty rate estimated in Washington was in sharp contrast to Putin's claim last June that Kiev was losing ten times as many troops as Moscow. Western intelligence agencies reportedly estimated troop losses at about 150,000 soldiers on each side in the first year of the conflict.

Zelensky's figure of 31,000 deaths may sound familiar. He gave the same estimate for Russian combat deaths in June 2022, less than four months after the Moscow offensive began. On Sunday, it was claimed that Russian forces had suffered 500,000 casualties, including 180,000 fatalities.

Although Zelensky downplayed Kiev's troop losses, losses were apparently high enough that the Ukrainian military, he said, requested the mobilization of up to 500,000 new troops in December.

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