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Ukrainian President Zelenskyj at an appearance at the beginning of the war

Photo: Ukrainian Presidential Press Office/dpa

In the war with Russia, 31,000 soldiers are said to have been killed on the Ukrainian side so far.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyj mentioned this number at a press conference on Sunday in Kiev.

It is the first official figure released by Ukraine since the Russian invasion began two years ago.

“I don’t want to say the number of wounded,” said Zelensky.

Zelensky rejected the loss figures cited so far by the American or Russian side, which suggest that 100,000 to 300,000 Ukrainian soldiers were killed.

"It's all nonsense." Zelensky put Russian losses at 180,000 dead and 500,000 wounded.

The president's statements could not initially be independently verified.

Top secret numbers

Zelensky did not want to comment on the victims among the Ukrainian population.

These numbers are currently unknown, he said.

Exact casualties among military personnel have so far been kept top secret by both sides.

US estimates from the summer of 2023 assumed around 70,000 dead Ukrainian and 120,000 dead Russian soldiers.

In mid-February, the US Department of Defense estimated the number of Russian soldiers killed or wounded at 315,000.

The independent Russian media portals Medusa and Mediazona recently published estimates that 75,000 Russian soldiers had died since the start of the war.

The journalists said they had evaluated various sources for their large-scale investigation: such as a database for inheritance matters, death registers and information from surviving relatives.

Statistical estimate

It said the number was not exact but a statistical estimate.

There is a range between 66,000 and 88,000 deaths.

The journalists said there were probably at most two dead Russian soldiers for every Ukrainian defender killed.

"To win the war of attrition, Ukraine must not only inflict losses on the Russian army, but also try to reduce its own losses," it said.