The war in Ukraine is also being fought with numbers. In the propaganda battle for military victory, Russian and Ukrainian authorities are offering brutally disparate data on their own and rival soldiers' casualties since the beginning of the invasion. These figures also do not coincide with those indicated by the intelligence services of third-party countries, such as the United States and the United Kingdom. Regarding the number of dead, wounded and civilian refugees, several UN agencies have painted a bleak picture, with more than 8,000 civilians dead, more than 13,000 wounded and 18 million people in dire need.
The latest data offered from Kiev acknowledges that between 10,000 and 13,000 Ukrainians are either wounded or dead. This was stated by Mikhail Podoliak, senior advisor to President Volodymir Zelensky in December. This is a far cry from the 100,000 casualties estimated at the time by Mark Miley, the top U.S. general and chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff. So far, the latest estimates of the intelligence services of Western countries accept the U.S. figure as the official one.
Ukraine acknowledges 13,000 casualties, U.S. says over 100,000
Russia claims that, during the 365 days of the conflict, it has lost 5,937 soldiers. This is a far cry from the more than 200,000 dead and wounded estimated by U.S. and British intelligence. Of these, the number of dead is estimated to be about 60,000 in the Russian ranks, according to these same sources. The Ukrainian government claims to have killed more than 146,820 Russian soldiers. The Russian military has also suffered significant losses of tanks and aircraft.
These are the indicative estimates of Russia’s combat losses as of Feb. 24, according to the Armed Forces of Ukraine. pic.twitter.com/UfDVBn0K95
— The Kyiv Independent (@KyivIndependent) February 24, 2023
Russia estimates 5,987 dead, 200,000 according to the West
According to the CIA, Ukraine has reportedly deployed some 700,000 fighters (including military and members of the country's security forces) to repel the Russian invasion. Moscow launched the attack with 280,000 soldiers, according to Kiev intelligence, to which it added the 300,000 reserves it mobilized in September, as confirmed by Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu. They could be joined by another half a million reserves, according to Zelensky's secret service forecasts.
As for civilians, the latest report published by the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, dated Feb. 15 of this year, puts the number of dead at 8,006 and 13,287 wounded. Among them, 487 children reportedly lost their lives, while 954 were injured. In addition, UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, notes that more than 17 million have been forced to leave their homes and move abroad or to other areas of their country. The number of Ukrainians living in dire need currently exceeds 18 million.
Video of Zelensky on the anniversary
On Friday at 7 a.m. local time, the Ukrainian president uploaded two posts to his Instagram account. The first one shows images of the development of the conflict since its beginning, showing the suffering of the bombed civilians and the country's soldiers repelling the Russian aggression and recapturing occupied territories. In the caption, Zelensky says:
On February 24, millions of us made a choice. Not a white flag, but a blue and yellow flag. Not fleeing, but facing. Facing the enemy. Resistance and struggle. It was a year of pain, sorrow, faith and unity. And this is a year of our invincibility. We know that this will be the year of our victory!
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In a second video, the president addressed the nation, assuring that "we will defeat everyone," and that Ukraine will try to end the war this year. "Every day, the occupiers killed our relatives and friends. We will not delete their names from the phone or our memory. We will never forget them. We will never forgive them.”
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