Ukraine reveals daily military casualties
Kiev has revealed the extent of its daily casualties in the conflict with Russia. As many as 1,000 Ukrainian soldiers are being killed or wounded each day in Donbass, a senior official said on Wednesday, as cited by Axios.
David Arakhamia, who leads Kiev’s negotiations with Moscow and heads the Ukrainian president’s party in parliament, disclosed the figures during a roundtable meeting at the German Marshall Fund in Washington DC. He said the number of daily casualties among Ukrainian soldiers has significantly increased since Russia stepped up its offensive in Donbass.
On June 1, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Kiev was losing 60-100 soldiers per day in combat. Now, just over two weeks later, Arakhamia claims the number has gone up to 200-500 daily deaths on average.
According to Arakhamia, while Kiev has mobilized one million people since the start of the conflict, it can mobilize an additional 2 million soldiers. However, the problem, according to the official, is not a lack of soldiers but a lack of weaponry and supplies.
“We have the people trained to attack, to counterattack, but we need weapons for this,” Arakhamia said.
The negotiator is fronting 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 the US will provide additional military and humanitarian assistance to Kiev, including $1 billion worth of weapons and supplies, such as rockets and artillery ammunition.
Last month the White House approved a $40 billion aid package for Ukraine. However, according to Arakhamia, these funds are taking too long to translate into actual weapon shipments.
Meanwhile, Kiev’s European partners have started focusing on replenishing their own stockpiles rather than sending everything they have to fight Russia, Arakhamia claimed, alleging that countries including Germany are gripped with an “internal fear” of Russia, judging by their reluctance to approve export licenses to arm Ukraine.
Commenting on the talks with Moscow, Arakhamia said Kiev currently does not want to sit at the table because its “negotiating position is actually quite weak.” The official said Kiev plans to “reverse it in some way,” stressing the need for a counter-operation to regain lost territory.
He noted that although the negotiations between Russia and Ukraine are still all but frozen, the two sides continue speaking by phone “one or two times per week” to check in, even though everyone realizes that “there is no place for negotiation.”
Nevertheless, Arakhamia stressed that the conflict would ultimately need to be resolved through compromise, even though there is currently significant domestic resistance to any sort of negotiations with Moscow.
Russia attacked Ukraine in late February, following Kiev’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, first signed in 2014, and Moscow’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. The German- and French-brokered protocols were designed to give the breakaway regions special status within the Ukrainian state.
The Kremlin has since demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join the US-led NATO military bloc. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked and has denied claims it was planning to retake the two republics by force.