KYIV—Nearly 9,000 Ukrainian military personnel have been killed in the war with Russia, the head of Ukraine's armed forces said on Monday.
The toll given by General Valeriy Zaluzhnyi appeared to be the first provided by Ukraine's military top brass since Russia's invasion on Feb. 24.
Zaluzhnyi, the Commander-in-Chief of Ukraine's armed forces, told a conference held to honor military veterans and the families of those killed that children needed protection in several parts of the country including the capital Kyiv.
"They really do not understand anything that is going on and definitely need protection ... because their father has gone to the front and possibly is among the almost 9,000 heroes who have been killed," he said.
Zaluzhnyi provided no details and did not say whether the figure he cited included all service personnel killed in action, such as border guards. President Volodymr Zelenkskyy told the conference that about 1 million people were defending Ukraine as part of Ukraine's armed forces or other services.
Russia has not said how many of its soldiers have been killed.
Reuters has been unable to verify the losses suffered by either side.