Up to 1,000 soldiers are killed or wounded every day, according to a Kiev official
Kiev has revealed the magnitude of its daily casualties in the conflict with Russia. As many as 1,000 Ukrainian soldiers are killed or wounded in Donbass every day, a senior official said Wednesday, as quoted by Axios.
David Arakhamia, who leads Kiev’s negotiations with Moscow and heads the Ukrainian president’s party in parliament, announced the figures at a roundtable meeting at the German Marshall Fund in Washington DC. He said the number of daily casualties among Ukrainian soldiers has increased significantly since Russia stepped up its offensive in Donbass.
On June 1, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Kiev was losing 60-100 soldiers a day in combat. Now, just over two weeks later, Arakhamia claims the number has risen to an average of 200-500 daily deaths.
According to Arakhamia, while Kiev has mobilized a million people since the start of the conflict, it can mobilize another 2 million soldiers. The problem, however, is not a lack of soldiers, but a lack of weapons and supplies, the official said.
“We have trained the people to attack, to counter-attack, but we need weapons for this.” said Arakhamia.
The negotiator faces a delegation in Washington to lobby the Biden administration and Congress to increase arms shipments to Ukraine, Axios reported.
On Wednesday, after a phone call with Zelensky, President Joe Biden announced that the US will provide additional military and humanitarian aid to Kiev, including $1 billion in weapons and supplies, such as missiles and artillery ammunition.
Last month, the White House approved a $40 billion aid package for Ukraine. However, according to Arakhamia, it takes too long for these funds to be converted into actual arms deliveries.
Meanwhile, Kiev’s European partners have begun to focus on replenishing their own supplies rather than sending everything they have to Kiev, Arakhamia claimed. “internal fear” of Russia, judging by their reluctance to approve export licenses to arm Ukraine.
Commenting on the talks with Moscow, Arakhamia said Kiev does not want to sit at the table at the moment because it “The bargaining position is actually quite weak.” The official said that Kiev plans to “somehow turn it back”, stresses the need for a counter-operation to regain lost ground.
He noted that although negotiations between Russia and Ukraine are still almost frozen, the two sides continue to talk by phone “once or twice a week” to check in, even though everyone realizes that “There is no room for negotiation.”
Nevertheless, Arakhamia stressed that the conflict must ultimately be resolved through a compromise, even though there is currently significant domestic resistance to any kind of negotiations with Moscow.
Russia attacked Ukraine in late February after Kiev failed to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, first signed in 2014, and the eventual recognition by Moscow of the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. The protocols brokered by Germany and France were designed to give the breakaway regions a special status within the Ukrainian state.
The Kremlin has since demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself as a neutral country that will never join NATO’s US-led military bloc. Kiev maintains that the Russian offensive was unprovoked and denies that it intended to retake the two republics by force.
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