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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky acknowledged the killing of 31,000 Ukrainian soldiers in the war with Russia, which entered its third year on Sunday, at a time when Russian forces announced the strengthening of their positions in eastern Ukraine in compliance with the instructions of President Vladimir Putin.

In a rare statement about Ukraine's military losses, Zelensky said, "31,000 Ukrainian soldiers were killed in this war. Not 300,000 or 150,000 or any other number that (Russian President Vladimir) Putin and the lying figures close to him are talking about. But each of these losses is a great loss." For us," he said.

Both sides of the war issue periodic statements regarding losses of tens of thousands of dead and wounded soldiers for the other side, but neither of them acknowledges these numbers.

The Ukrainian president added during a press conference in Kiev, "Whether Ukraine will lose, whether the situation will be very difficult, and whether the number of victims will be high, all of this depends on you (Ukrainians), on our partners, and on the Western world."

Zelensky reiterated his call for Ukraine's allies to provide more support to defeat Russia in the war (Anatolia)

"Our victory depends on you"

Addressing his Western allies, Zelensky said that Ukraine's victory over Russia "depends on you," but he expressed his "confidence" that the US Congress will ultimately approve the long-awaited aid package.

Republican opposition in the US Congress hinders Washington's continued provision of aid to Ukraine, especially since it has provided billions of dollars in aid since the beginning of the war on February 24, 2022.

Ukraine expects to receive economic support worth $11.8 billion this year from the United States, according to statements by Ukrainian Prime Minister Denis Shmyhal on Sunday.

In response to a question about whether he would talk to Putin, Zelensky said, "Can you talk to a deaf person? Can you talk to a man who kills his opponents?"

Referring to the death of Putin's main opponent, Alexei Navalny, in an Arctic prison this month, and accusing Moscow of being behind his assassination, which it denies.

On the other hand, the Ukrainian president indicated that plans for the counterattack launched by his forces last year had been leaked to Russia before it began.

He added that his military commanders are preparing "several plans" for this year's war strategy "due to the leakage of information," which appears to be a justification for the weak effectiveness of the counterattack that Kiev and Russia have repeatedly threatened.

The war between Ukraine and Russia has been going on for two years without a resolution or horizon for a diplomatic solution (French)

Russia is strengthening its positions

For its part, Russia said on Sunday that its forces had taken better positions near Avdiivka and Donetsk in eastern Ukraine after President Putin ordered the army to penetrate deeper into Ukraine with the two-year anniversary of the start of the all-out war.

The Russian Ministry of Defense announced that Ukrainian forces were repelled near 3 towns in the Donetsk region and were stationed in better locations near Avdiivka, which Russia took control of earlier this month.

The ministry said that Russian forces repelled 7 Ukrainian counterattacks in the region.

She explained that a total of 77 Ukrainian marches were destroyed.

It is not possible to verify battlefield accounts from either side.

Putin said last Tuesday that Russian forces would penetrate into Ukraine to take advantage of the momentum on the battlefield after the fall of the town of Avdiivka, where he said Ukrainian forces were forced to flee in chaos.

Russia currently controls just under a fifth of Ukraine's internationally recognized territory.

Zelensky said he would not calm down until the last Russian soldier was expelled.

Russia says that the lands controlled by its forces are part of it, and it will never give them up.

While the West pledged to provide aid - financial and military - worth 250 billion euros ($271 billion) to its ally, Ukraine, in an effort to defeat Russian forces.

Source: Al Jazeera + agencies