Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has mentioned that 31,000 Ukrainian troopers have been killed in motion within the two years since Russia launched its full-scale invasion.

Talking on the “Ukraine. Yr 2024” discussion board in Kyiv, Zelenskyy mentioned that “every of those losses is a good sacrifice” for Ukraine.

He added that “tens of hundreds of civilians” had been killed in occupied areas of Ukraine, however mentioned that no precise figures could be obtainable till the conflict was over.

It’s the primary time that Kyiv has confirmed the variety of its losses because the begin of Russia’s full-scale conflict in opposition to Ukraine on February 24, 2022.

Russia has additionally supplied few official casualty figures. Impartial Russian information outlet Mediazona mentioned on Saturday that about 75,000 Russian males died in 2022 and 2023 combating within the conflict.

A United States intelligence report declassified in mid-December 2023 estimated that 315,000 Russian troops had been killed or wounded in Ukraine. If correct, the determine would signify 87 p.c of the roughly 360,000 troops Russia had earlier than the conflict, in accordance with the report.

Delays in arms shipments

It has been two years since Russia invaded Ukraine and commemorations to mark the second anniversary introduced expressions of continued assist, new bilateral safety agreements and new help commitments from Ukraine’s Western allies.

However Ukraine’s Defence Minister Rustem Umerov highlighted that they nonetheless wanted to ship on their commitments if Kyiv is to have any probability of holding out in opposition to Moscow and careworn that delays in arms shipments will value lives.

“We glance to the enemy: Their economic system is nearly $2 trillion, they use as much as 15 p.c official and nonofficial funds [funds] for the conflict, which constitutes over $100bn yearly. So mainly at any time when a dedication doesn’t come on time, we lose individuals, we lose territory,” he mentioned, talking on the Kyiv discussion board.

Europe has admitted it can fall far wanting a plan to ship multiple million artillery shells to Ukraine by March, as a substitute hoping to finish the shipments by the tip of the 12 months.

Umerov highlighted that such delays put Ukraine at an extra drawback “within the arithmetic of conflict” in opposition to Russia, which the West has mentioned is more and more constructing a conflict economic system.

Kyiv has additionally been weakened by the blocking of a significant $60bn US help bundle amid political wrangling within the US Congress.

US President Joe Biden said the hold-ups immediately contributed to Ukraine being pressured to withdraw from Avdiivka.

On Sunday, Ukraine’s Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal mentioned he was “deeply satisfied that the US is not going to abandon Ukraine by way of monetary, navy and armed assist”.

‘Plan for brand new offensive in opposition to Russia’

In current weeks, combating has intensified on elements of the entrance line. On Sunday, Russian shelling and rocket strikes continued to pummel Ukraine’s south and east, as native Ukrainian officers reported that not less than two civilians have been killed and eight others have been wounded within the Zaporizhia and Kherson provinces.

Moscow and Kyiv additionally continued to commerce nightly drone assaults, with Ukraine’s air defences taking pictures down 16 of 18 Iranian-made Shahed drones launched in a single day by Moscow and a Russian drone on Sunday morning hanging an unspecified facility in Ukraine’s western Khmelnytskyi area, the regional navy administration reported with out giving particulars.

Russian troops additionally seemed to be urgent on west of Avdiivka, the strategic metropolis whose seize this month handed Moscow a big victory.

Zelenskyy instructed a information convention on Sunday that Ukraine has a transparent plan for a brand new counteroffensive in opposition to Russian forces.

Kyiv’s troops performed a counteroffensive final 12 months, however have been unable to interrupt by way of ready defensive strains within the Russian-occupied south and east.

“There’s a plan [for a counteroffensive], the plan is evident, I can’t inform you the main points,” Zelenskyy mentioned.

He mentioned {that a} main shake-up that noticed the top of Ukraine’s navy changed earlier this month was related to the brand new plan of motion on the battlefield.

“This plan is said to the change of administration; there are corresponding modifications. A number of plans will likely be ready attributable to a leak of knowledge,” Zelenskyy mentioned, with out elaborating.

Earlier he mentioned that Kyiv’s plans to conduct a counteroffensive final 12 months had been leaked and ended up “on a desk within the Kremlin” earlier than the operation had even begun.

In the meantime on the discussion board in Kyiv, in addition to highlighting points in navy deliveries, Umerov insisted that Ukrainian forces have been doing “every little thing that’s doable, and in addition what’s not possible, to safe a breakthrough” this 12 months.

The defence minister mentioned {that a} “robust” navy technique is already in place for the approaching months, however didn’t disclose particulars.

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