Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has made public the official statistics of the Kiev authorities concerning the losses of the Ukrainian armed forces in their conflict with self-defense troops in the east of the country.
In an interview to Ukrainian First Channel on Monday, Poroshenko said that the Ukrainian army has lost a total of 1,549 men so far.
“We have lost 1,549 men so far: 1,232 army soldiers, 99 interior ministry employees, 132 national guards, 63 border guards, 7 national security officers and 16 rescuers. In Debaltsevo we lost 19 people,” Poroshenko said.
In early Feb 2015, a big group of Ukrainian troops was encircled near Debaltsevo. On Feb 9, the self-defenders said that there were almost 8,000 Ukrainian soldiers in the so-called Debaltsevo pocket. The authorities of Donetsk and Lugansk said that they could freely leave the area but the Kyiv authorities did not let them do it and said that there was no pocket in Debaltsevo. The encircled troops tried to break out. As a result, they lost over 3,000 men. “Unfortunately, the Ukrainian authorities have ignored our urges to lay down arms and have lost almost 3,000-3,500 men,” leader of self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic Alexander Zakharchenko said on Feb 19.
Later, Deputy Chief of the General Staff of Ukraine’s Army Gennady Vorobyov said that just 22 Ukrainian soldiers were killed in the battles in Debaltsevo.