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Ukraine's Zelenskyy: 31,000 soldiers have died in war with Russia

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy countered Russia's government's estimates, stating the number was significantly lower.
31,000 Ukrainian troops killed since Russia's invasion, Zelenskyy says
Posted at 11:47 AM, Feb 25, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-25 17:04:40-05

Two years after Russia's invasion of Ukraine, we are now learning more about the toll the war has taken. 

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy spoke Sunday at a conference in Kyiv, making a rare admission about the casualties of Ukrainian soldiers.

Scripps News witnessed a historic moment as President Zelensky disclosed, for the first time, the total number of Ukrainian soldiers killed in action, revealing a toll of 31,000 people to date.

Last summer, U.S. officials estimated it was double that number—70,000 killed.

It's been strict policy in Ukraine not to talk about casualty figures, and so he didn't say why he set this new precedent.

But it appears he wanted to counter Russian rhetoric, saying not 300,000, not 150,000, or whatever Russian President Vladimir Putin and his deceitful circle have been lying about. But nevertheless, each of these losses is a great sacrifice for them.

SEE MORE: Ukraine's pilots training as fast as they can to be ready for F-16s

Russian casualty figures are believed to be far higher, but Putin's forces committed to this war are roughly triple those of the Ukrainians, and the weapons gap is also severe and growing.

He was asked repeatedly about the U.S. military aid bill that's stalled in Congress, Zelensky expressed confidence and the deadline by which he says he has told U.S. leaders it needs to happen.

"I am sure there will be a positive decision, because otherwise it will leave me wondering what kind of world we are living in. Because of that, we do count on Congress' support. We do know we need support within a month. We do see the challenges in the U.S., but we do count on the U.S. remaining the lead of democracy worldwide," said Zelenskyy. 

Additionally, he stated that "tens of thousands of civilians" had died in occupied parts of Ukraine but added that exact figures wouldn't be known until after the war.

Zelensky's tone Sunday was neither upbeat nor somber compared to other times. He seemed much the same: feisty, furious with Putin, and resolute that winning the war is the only option.


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