Between 50 and 100 Ukrainian troops are dying every day on the frontlines defending against Russia’s aggressive assault on the Donbas region, Ukrainian President Zelensky said during an address at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
Currently, fighting in the region is concentrated around the cities of Severodonetsk and Lysychansk in Luhansk. According to Serhiy Gaidai, governor of Luhansk Oblast, Russia is resorting to “scorched-earth” tactics in order to gain control of the region from Ukrainian forces.
The city of Severodonetsk is currently being attacked by Russia forces from four directions in an attempt to cut off the critical city. So far, Ukrainian forces have repelled all the Russian attacks and are still in control of the key industrial city.
Troop losses for both Russia and Ukraine continue to rise
Reliable casualty statistics are hard to come by in the Ukraine-Russia conflict, but according to Ukrainian military estimates, Russia is suspected to have lost more troops since the start of the war than it did during 10 years of the Soviet-Afghan war in 1979-1989, which saw over 29,000 killed in action.
According to estimates published in the New York Times on 19 April, the Ukrainian armed forces have lost more than 11,000 troops during course of the armed hostilities.
Despite the rapidly escalating conflict in the East of the country, Ukraine has ruled out any ceasefire or deal which would lead to the transfer of Ukrainian territory to the Russian Federation.
On 18 May, up to 959 Ukrainian soldiers surrendered in the areas around Mariupol’s Azovstal steel plant following months of besiegement and bombardment by Russian forces.
Ukrainian officials estimate that the siege tied-up up to 20,000 Russian soldiers in the region, preventing attacks against Ukraine’s south.