Ukraine marks 9,000 dead soldiers in six months of war

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Ukraine marks 9,000 dead soldiers in six months of war

Kyiv reported some 9,000 troops killed in action since February, a grim milestone as the Russian invasion reaches its six-month anniversary.

Kyiv’s military chief, Gen. Valerii Zaluzhnyi, referenced the figure at a veterans event on Monday, saying Ukraine’s children must be cared for because “their father went to the front line and, perhaps, is one of those almost 9,000 heroes who died.”

The statement — the first official death toll from Kyiv since the fighting began — is a rare look into the cost of a war that has been hard to quantify. The United Nations has routinely reported civilian casualty figures, most recently reporting 5,587 non-combatants killed.

A Ukrainian woman crying over the death of her son is comforted by soldiers
Irina Tromsa, 55, is comforted by comrades of her son Bogdan, 24, a Ukrainian paratrooper killed during fighting against Russian troops.
AP

But in a war where Russian strategy has involved encircling and shelling cities, the UN has pointed out that access is limited, confirmation of deaths is difficult, and their numbers are almost certainly “considerably higher.”

Russia’s casualty figures have been a mystery for most of the war.

The Kremlin stopped publicly announcing casualty figures in March, after stating that 1,351 soldiers had been killed in a month of the war.

That figure, which was not widely regarded as accurate at the time, remains the last official accounting of Russia’s war losses.

US intelligence earlier this month estimated that some 70,000 to 80,000 Russian troops had been killed or wounded since the fighting began.

Last month, CIA Director William Burns said as many as 15,000 Russian soldiers had been killed — roughly as many men as Russia is thought to have lost in its failed 10-year bid to take over Afghanistan in the 1980s.

Men in hazmat suits exhume bodies from the ground
Men wearing protective gear exhume the bodies of civilians killed during the Russian occupation in Bucha.
AP
A Ukrainian serviceman is backdropped by his country's flag while standing on a tank, outside Kyiv
Monday marks the first time Kyiv has acknowledged the war’s military death toll.
AP

Meanwhile, the war continues to be fought by inches, with Russia’s push for the eastern Donbas region effectively paused and a long-expected Ukrainian counterattack in the south near Kherson yet to materialize.

With Post wires

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