According to government figures, around 10,000 Ukrainian soldiers were killed in a good three and a half months of the Russian war of aggression. An advisor to President Volodymyr Zelenskyj made the number public on Saturday night.
In eastern Ukraine, meanwhile, the fighting is continuing without major changes in the course of the front. The Ukrainian side speaks of the success of their artillery thanks to Western ammunition – and appeals to increase the pace of arms deliveries.
“Russia wants to destroy every city in Donbass, ‘every’ is no exaggeration. Like Volnovakha, like Mariupol,” said Zelenskyy in his video address on Friday evening.
“All these ruins in once happy cities, black marks from fires, craters from explosions – that’s all Russia can give to its neighbors, Europe and the world,” Zelenskyy said.
The figure of around 10,000 killed Ukrainian soldiers comes from Presidential Advisor Oleksiy Arestovych. He named her in one of his regular YouTube video interviews with the Russian opposition leader Mark Feygin.
Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov said this week that up to 100 Ukrainian soldiers are currently being killed every day. Arestovych emphasized that on the Ukrainian side, even at the beginning of the war, around 100 military personnel died every day.
In response to Feygin’s question as to whether a total of around 10,000 soldiers were killed, Arestovych replied: “Yes, roughly.”
Neither Ukraine nor Russia have so far provided exhaustive information on the casualties in the war that began on February 24. Selenskyj last spoke of up to 3,000 soldiers killed in a CNN interview in mid-April.
According to Arestovych, more Russian than Ukrainian soldiers are constantly being killed. On Friday, Ukrainian artillery attacks using Western ammunition were particularly efficient, he said, giving an estimate of around 600 Russian soldiers killed.
In view of this, the Zelenskyj adviser appealed to the West to deliver arms and ammunition much more quickly. The Ukrainian government is very grateful for the help so far, without which it would probably have been pushed back behind the Dnipro River. But he doesn’t understand the slowness of the deliveries.
In order to beat back Russian aggression, Ukraine needs, among other things, more artillery firepower, stressed Arestovytch.
Selenskyj himself is also pressing the West for faster arms deliveries. The Ukrainian government is preparing for reconstruction, he said in his daily video address. But the current “difficult” battles will decide how soon that time will come. And the Ukrainian troops could only stop the advance of the Russian military as well as their weapons would allow them.
The mayor, Vadym Boichenko, who was driven out of Mariupol by Russian troops, has accused the occupiers of demolishing apartment buildings in the city without first recovering the bodies of the dead residents. The dead would be taken away with the rubble, Boitschenko wrote on Telegram on Friday.
In the port city, which had been besieged by Russian troops for weeks, 1,300 buildings had been destroyed and 50 to 100 people were believed to have died under each of the multi-story houses. The information could not be independently verified.
More on the Ukraine war at Tagesspiegel Plus:
Ukrainian authorities estimated the number of civilians killed in Mariupol at up to 20,000 before it was captured by Russian troops.
Russia continues its attempts to tie occupied Ukrainian territories closer to itself. From Saturday, Russian passports are to be handed out in the parts of the Zaporizhia region controlled by Russian troops.
The recipients would then be considered full citizens of Russia, a member of the occupation authorities Vladimir Rogov told Rossiya-24 TV channel. According to him, more than 70,000 people have applied there.
President Vladimir Putin simplified the procedure for obtaining Russian passports in May. Russia also distributes them in other occupied territories and introduces the ruble there as a means of payment.
Ukrainian authorities accuse the occupiers of forcing people into Russian citizenship and fear an annexation of the occupied territories. According to Arestovych, a Russian general who was supposed to hold a referendum on annexation to Russia was killed in the occupied territory of Cherson.
The course of the fighting in the eastern Ukrainian industrial region of Donbass remains the focus.