Zelensky: Since the beginning of the war, 31.000 Ukrainian soldiers have died

Volodymyr Zelensky in Oslo / Photo EPA-EFE/Javad Parsa /

Since the beginning of the Russian invasion two years ago, "31.000 Ukrainian soldiers have died" and the Russian army "lost six times more", said the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky during a press conference in Kyiv on the occasion of the second anniversary of the Russian invasion.

"It was not 300.000 or 150.000 killed, as Putin is lying... But still, this is also a big loss for us," Zelensky said.

He added that he would not give the number of injured because it would help Russia in making military plans.

Ukraine has not reported its military casualties since late 2022, when Zelenskyi's adviser, Mykhailo Podolyak, said 13.000 Ukrainian soldiers had been killed since the start of the war on February 24, 2022.

Putin won't call me, he doesn't have a mobile phone

"He doesn't have a cell phone, how can he call me?" And I haven't used a telegraph since 1917. He won't call me, he doesn't want this war to end", this is how Zelenski answered a journalist's question about whether he would answer the phone if Putin called him.

Answering another question – is Ukraine losing in this war and is it time to talk to Putin, he answered: "Is it possible to talk to a deaf man?" Is it possible to talk to a man who kills his opponents?".

He said that the Ukrainian side will offer a platform on which Putin can agree that he has lost this war and that this is a big mistake.

Will Ukraine lose this war?

"The most difficult was on February 24 two years ago. There's no way we're going to lose. If we lose, we will not exist. Therefore, such an end to the fight for our lives definitely does not suit us," said Zelenski.

Half of the Western aid is no longer arriving

Zelensky's statement about the loss of Ukrainian soldiers' lives came shortly after the defense minister said that half of the Western aid to Ukraine so far has been delayed, which he says is costing lives and territory.

"At the moment, the commitment of the West is not accompanied by the delivery of aid," Rustam Umerov said today in a televised address.

Umerov said that the lack of weapons and ammunition puts Ukraine at an even more disadvantageous position "in the mathematics of war."

"We are doing everything possible and impossible, but the reduction in supply is hurting us," he said.

German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius warned in November that plans to deliver a million artillery shells by March would not be met.

In January, the European Union (EU) announced that just over half of these funds would reach Ukraine by the deadline and that the full promised sum would not be transferred until the end of 2024.

The EU's foreign policy and security chief, Josep Borrell, blamed a lack of production capacity, but NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the allies were ramping up production.

Kiev often reprimands its Western allies for not supplying enough weapons, ammunition and military equipment to counter Russia.

Zelensky said that the Ukrainian counter-offensive was delayed last year precisely because of the lack of weapons. For the loss of Avdejevka, Zelensky partly blamed the weakening of Western support in arms.

US President Joseph Biden blamed Congress for blocking a new $60 billion military aid package for Ukraine, leading to Avdeevka's downfall. From Brussels, they said that in two years they gave Kiev as much as 160 billion in aid.

Despite the delay in the delivery of the new aid, the Ukrainian prime minister sounded optimistic.

"We are deeply convinced that the United States will not leave Ukraine in terms of financial support and military, armed support," Denis Shmyal said on Sunday.

Western leaders were in Kiev on Saturday to express solidarity with Ukraine on the day that marks two years since the start of the war. They claim that Russia also has problems in providing enough ammunition and weapons.

"The Russian domestic munitions production capacity is currently insufficient to meet the needs of the Ukrainian conflict," claimed an unnamed Western official.

Meanwhile, the head of Ukraine's security service said on Sunday that 47 Russian spy networks operating in Ukraine were discovered last year.

Vasil Manyuk added that more than 2.000 suspected "traitors" have been arrested since the beginning of the Russian invasion.

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