In a bid to acquire even more military equipment from NATO member countries, an advisor to the Office of President Volodymyr Zelensky has admitted that Ukrainian forces are losing approximately between 100 and 200 soldiers per day.
Senior Ukrainian presidential aide Mykhaylo Podolyak made the revelation while speaking with BBC last week. At the same time, Podolyak admitted Ukraine was completely outgunned by Russian artillery in the Donbass region and urged the West to send between 150 and 300 rocket launchers.
“Our demands for artillery are not just some kind of whim... but an objective need when it comes to the situation on the battlefield,” Podolyak stated, revealing the disadvantageous position of Kiev are in now that Russian Forces have concentrated on taking the entire Donbass region in Eastern Ukraine.
Podolyak’s estimations of Ukrainian casualties are even higher than those of Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov, who admitted last Thursday that Ukraine was losing up to 100 soldiers a day, along with 500 more injured.
In the same week, Oleksiy Arestovych, another adviser to President Zelensky known for making revelatory statements, also told the Guardian that “up to 150 troops a day were being killed and 800 wounded.”
On Saturday, the Washington Post cited Arestovych as stating that 10,000 Ukrainian soldiers had been killed since the start of the war.
Previously, Ukrainian casualty figures were a highly-guarded secret with officials refusing to disclose the full extent of Ukrainian losses. In contrast, Ukraine has continued to publish nearly daily totals of estimated Russian casualties, which are most certainly overestimations made for propaganda purposes.
Extrapolating from even the minimum numbers given by Podolyak, Reznikov and Arestovych, at least 3,000 Ukrainian soldiers are killed each month, with over 15,000 injured. And even these are likely underestimations, aimed at concealing the full scope of the devastation in Ukraine.
Ukraine currently claims that Russia has lost 32,500 soldiers in the war. In March, Russia admitted to just 1,300 killed, while several current Western reports are much higher, though below Ukrainian estimates.
Whatever the true number, it is clear that tens of thousands of soldiers have already died on both sides along with tens of thousands more suffering life-long injuries that will affect both countries for decades to come.
Such numbers are the totally predictable disastrous consequences of Russia’s invasion on February 24 after months and years of deliberate provocations by NATO and its proxy, Kiev.
Testifying to the criminal nature of the Kiev government, the revelations of the staggering death toll of the conflict were made only as part of a PR campaign to obtain even more military aid and continue a war with nuclear-armed Russia.
In addition to massive casualties in the course of the war, there are currently 5,600 Ukrainian soldiers in Russian captivity, 2,500 of them from the recently captured city of Mariupol.
The revelations came as the momentum in the war over the Donbass has swung against Kiev, with Ukrainian forces continuing to lose territory over the past week.
Fighting has centered around the industrial city of Sieverodonetsk, with the city changing hands already several times. Ukrainian forces have been attempting to hold onto the strategically important city at the urging of President Zelensky despite the risk of encirclement.
With the bridges out of the city destroyed, the remaining Ukrainian soldiers are effectively stranded in Russian territory. As they had previously done in Mariupol, Ukrainian forces have retreated to an industrial plant, the Azot Chemical Plant, along with civilians. Russian forces are calling for the remaining Ukrainian soldiers to surrender by Wednesday this week.
With control of Sieverodonetsk, Russian forces will be able to attempt to cross the Siverskyi Donets river and then from there move towards establishing control over the entire Luhansk province, one of two provinces making up the Donbass region, along with Donetsk.
A “senior U.S. defense official” told the Washington Post on Saturday that Russia was likely to seize control of the entire Luhansk province in the coming weeks.
Russia has already claimed that it is close to establishing control over all of Luhansk province, which it recognized as an independent republic just prior to the invasion of Ukraine.
The losses by Ukrainian forces prompted a snap meeting by NATO defense ministers on Wednesday. In addition to the NATO member defense ministers, Ukrainian officials and those of partners, like the European Union, Sweden, Finland, Georgia and Moldova were also present, and the US announced further weapons deliveries to the Ukrainian army.
In a systematic attempt to weaken Russia and drag out the war, the United States has already provided $4.6 billion in military aid to Ukraine since the beginning of the invasion, including 108 howitzers, 26,500 Javelin missiles and 1,400 Stinger missiles. In May, the US Congress approved $40 billion in assistance, including $20 billion more in military aid.
Despite the mounting losses, Ukrainian officials have shown no interest whatsoever in continuing negotiations to end the war with Russia that is not only devastating Ukraine but also spurring worldwide inflation and food shortages.
Podolyak and the head of Zelensky’s office, Andriy Yermak, have said in recent weeks that despite overtures from Moscow and anxiety within NATO, no negotiations will take place until Russia withdraws its forces to pre-invasion borders.
Ukrainian officials are well aware that such a scenario would signify an effective surrender by Moscow and will never take place without substantial concessions by Kiev, or after a regime change in Moscow.
Despite their pledges to keep fighting until the last Ukrainian, soldiers themselves have demonstrated in recent weeks they are not so eager to sacrifice their own lives in the war.
According to a recent report in the Independent, “cases of desertion are growing every week” among Ukrainian forces. The report also stated that Ukrainian forces are outmanned “20 to 1 in artillery and 40 to 1 in ammunition.” The report, furthermore, indicated that Russian artillery is capable of attacking from 12 times the distance of its Ukrainian counterparts, putting Ukrainian artillery troops at a much higher risk of death.
In the past month, several Ukrainian units have taken to Telegram to complain about poor supplies and command, warning the Ukrainian government they are fed up with the conditions they continue to face against obviously superior Russian artillery.
On May 24, volunteers from the 115th Brigade, 3rd Battalion posted a video to Telegram which stated, “We are being sent to certain death,” and cited similar videos posted by members of the 115th Brigade, 1st Battalion. “We are not alone like this, we are many,” the Ukrainian volunteer added.
Russia likewise has faced opposition to the war among its forces, according to a recent report from the Wall Street Journal.
Mikhail Benyash, a Russian lawyer representing soldiers looking to avoid the war, told the Journal he had received requests for legal assistance from more than 1,000 Russian service members. “So many people don’t want to fight,” Benyash said.
While reports of Russian desertions are regularly published in the Western and Ukrainian media, reports of Ukrainian deserters are highly censored to avoid anti-war sentiment spreading among soldiers.
As Serhi Lapko, a Ukrainian company commander stationed in Donbass, recently told the Washington Post, “On Ukrainian TV we see that there are no losses,” Lapko said. “There’s no truth.”