Zelenskyy Says 31,000 Ukrainian Soldiers Killed Since Russia Invaded

Zelenskyy Says 31,000 Ukrainian Soldiers Killed Since Russia Invaded
Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy attends a press conference during the "Ukraine Year 2024" forum in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Feb. 25, 2024, marking the second anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. (Sergei Supinsky/AFP via Getty Images)
Reuters
2/25/2024
Updated:
2/25/2024
0:00

KYIV, Ukraine—President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says that 31,000 Ukrainian soldiers have been killed since Russia’s full-scale invasion two years ago, giving the first official figure in more than a year.

Mr. Zelenskyy told a Feb. 25 news conference in Kyiv that he couldn’t disclose the number of wounded because it would help Russian military planning.

“Thirty-one thousand Ukrainian troops have been killed in this war. Not 300,000, not 150,000 ... [Russian President Vladimir] Putin is lying there ... But nevertheless, this is a big loss for us.”

Ukraine hasn’t put a number to its military losses since the end of 2022, when presidential aide Mykhailo Podolyak said 13,000 Ukrainian soldiers had been killed since the invasion on Feb. 24.

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy visits the Memory Wall of Fallen Defenders of Ukraine on Day of the Ukrainian Armed Forces in Kyiv on Dec. 6, 2023. (Ukrainian Presidential Press Service/Handout via Reuters)
Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy visits the Memory Wall of Fallen Defenders of Ukraine on Day of the Ukrainian Armed Forces in Kyiv on Dec. 6, 2023. (Ukrainian Presidential Press Service/Handout via Reuters)

Battlefield casualties are a highly sensitive subject in a country trying to reform how it mobilizes civilians into the army to regenerate its forces after last year’s counteroffensive proved unable to break through Russian lines.

Mr. Zelenskyy told reporters that 180,000 Russians had been killed in the fighting.

Russia doesn’t disclose military losses, which it regards as secret. Both sides regularly describe the other’s military losses as vast.

The Ukrainian leader also said that tens of thousands of civilians have been killed in the occupied areas of the country during the war. Kyiv says it can’t accurately assess the scale of such losses because it does not have access.