Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has already killed about 9,000 Ukrainian soldiers since it began nearly six months ago, a general said, in a rare admission on casualty figures during the war.
General Valeriy Zaluzhny, Ukraine’s commander-in-chief, said on Monday many Ukrainian children needed to be cared for “because their fathers have gone to the front and are maybe among the nearly 9,000 heroes who have been killed”.
Monday’s announcement of the scope of Ukraine’s military dead stands in contrast to estimates given by Russia’s military, which last gave an update on March 25 when it said 1,351 Russian troops were killed during the first month of fighting.
US military officials estimated two weeks ago that Russia has lost between 70,000 to 80,000 soldiers, both killed and wounded in action. It is impossible for Al Jazeera to independently confirm those battlefield figures.
The United Nations says 5,587 civilians have been killed and 7,890 wounded during the Russian invasion of Ukraine, although the estimate is likely hugely conservative.
The UN children’s agency said on Monday at least 972 Ukrainian children have been killed or injured since Russia invaded. UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell said these are UN-verified figures, but “we believe the number to be much higher”.
“I feel hate towards Russians,” said Liudmyla Shyshkina, 74, standing on the edge of her destroyed fourth-floor apartment that no longer has walls, in the city of Nikopol. She is still injured from an August 10 blast that killed her 81-year-old husband, Anatoliy.
“The Second World War didn’t take away my father, but the Russian war did,” noted Pavlo Shyshkin, his son.
Ukraine marks its independence day on Wednesday, as well as six months since Russian troops invaded.