“It Will Be A Shock”: Ukraine Lost 500,000 Soldiers In War So Far, Nearly 30,000 Per Month: Lutsenko Claims

Ukraine lost 500,000 soldiers, killed or seriously wounded, since the beginning of the Russian special military operation/invasion, former Prosecutor General and ex-head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine Yuriy Lutsenko said on the YouTube channel.

“I think that they should name the number of dead Ukrainians. I know that they don’t want this, and it will be taken seriously. Yes, it will be a shock,” he said.

According to Lutsenko, Ukraine loses tens of thousands of fighters per month, which is why the Ukrainian military proposed to mobilize half a million people.

“We must honestly say that the 500,000 that are now being talked about if divided into months, is 30 thousand a month, and then we will approximately understand what is happening at the front,” he highlighted.


When, in February 2022, Russia began its war in Ukraine, which is also known as ‘Special Military Operation’ (SMO), American intelligence agencies came up with a hurried speculation stating it would end in days.

Now, after 23 months of the conflict, analysts are saying – the Ukraine war will become a frozen conflict in 2024. There is a clear prediction that the war is either heading towards the sudden surrender of Kyiv or it will continue to no ending point.

Under such circumstances, Western nations, particularly the United States, may not be able to continue their cashflow to Ukraine for an indefinite period as those Western countries already are facing economic crises, growing unemployment, and multiple social issues which would worsen once the Western leaders do not put funding Ukraine into shelves.

But Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is not going to admit the reality. Instead, according to The Guardian – Ukrainians believe they can win the war, while the UK newspaper said, “… Nonetheless, it is true that the prospect of some decisive breakthrough routing Russian troops from Ukrainian soil looks more remote than ever.

Meanwhile, with another crisis raging in the Middle East, the appetite in Western capitals to keep providing the funding and weapons that Kyiv needs has only diminished”.

Pentagon officials say there are enough munitions to last Ukraine for the winter, and Biden could yet get a deal to secure the money. As an alternative, the US and Europe are reportedly considering drawing on US$300 billion in frozen Russian assets instead.

If the funding does not come in some form, “that will be catastrophic for Ukraine,” war correspondent Shaun Walker said. “They are already facing shortages of everything they need.” Volodymyr Zelenskiy visited Washington earlier in December 2023, but his pleas for more support appeared to have left Republicans unmoved. In fact, majority of the American lawmakers are unwilling to let the Biden administration send any further funds to Ukraine.

Hiroyuki Akita, commentator of Nikkei Asia, wrote: “… No one I talked to called for a cease-fire, although it was clear that people wanted the fighting to stop. In a group interview with Nikkei and other news media, Zelenskyy [Volodymyr Zelensky] acknowledged that the country was facing a serious shortage of weapons and that its counteroffensive had stalled”.

This means that while Zelensky is consistently asking for cashflow from the Western nations, after spending over US$75 billion – Ukraine could achieve no advantage over Russian forces. Instead, Kyiv is already on the verge of losing the war.

Meanwhile, according to the Kiel Institute for the World Economy, a German research institute, the Biden administration and the US Congress have directed more than US$75 billion in assistance to Ukraine, which includes humanitarian, financial, and military support.

Although this massive fund did not help Ukraine show any real sign of winning the war, US President Joe Biden wants to send an additional US$61 billion aid package, which has been held up by Congress. Meanwhile, there are allegations of loot and rampant corruption with this foreign aid.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian president Zelensky admitted to the Associated Press that the summer counteroffensive did not produce the desired results, partly because Kyiv did not receive the necessary weapons from its allies.

On December 1, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu claimed that the Ukrainian army had lost more than 125,000 people and 16,000 large-scale weapons since the start of the counteroffensive.

“Total mobilization in Ukraine, supplies of Western weapons, and the introduction of strategic reserves into battle by the Ukrainian command did not change the situation on the battlefield,” he said.

With statements of Volodymyr Zelensky and Sergei Shoigu, what can the world expert from the war in 2024? In November, Zelensky stated that Ukraine needs “three victories” — for the US Congress to approve further military assistance, for the EU to continue its support, and for “open dialogue” on Ukraine’s EU accession.

The question here is – can Zelensky succeed in achieving his “three victories”? Biden administration has already provided more than US$40 billion in security aid to Ukraine. Germany and the Netherlands also recently increased their aid pledges for Ukraine. However, the future of these commitments risks becoming mired in domestic politics, as a proposed US$61 billion US aid package has been held up by Congress.

Moreover, the war between Israel and Hamas, which broke out on October 7, is having an effect. The US has reduced its supply of 155mm ammunition by “more than 30 percent”, a senior Ukrainian source told ABC News in November 2023, despite Washington’s assurances that the conflict in the Middle East would not have an impact.

With regards to European partners, a proposed €50 billion package from the EU is being opposed by Hungary, delaying its approval. According to experts, it may also face disruption due to the financial crisis in Germany and the strengthening of the far right in several European countries, such as in the recent Dutch elections. Along with this financial angle, the diplomatic aspect remains an obstacle. Not least is the fact that Ukraine’s membership bid has already divided the European Union.

“Ukraine is in no way ready to negotiate on its ambitions to join the European Union,” Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said in November last year.

In a Foreign Policy article in 2022, Amanda Coakley called Orban “Putin’s Trojan horse inside the European Union.” Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto, commenting on the European Commission’s recommendation that accession negotiations with Kyiv should begin, suggested that Ukraine should not be admitted to the EU until the armed conflict there ends; otherwise, it risks spreading throughout Europe.

Meanwhile, Romanian Prime Minister Marcel Ciolacu warned that NATO allies need to stand firm in supporting Ukraine or risk right-wing and populist forces in the EU becoming even stronger.

Meanwhile, the possibility of peace negotiations taking place between Moscow and Kyiv is crucial while it is anticipated that such negotiations may not take place during 2024, primarily due to disagreement between the two conflicting sides.

Zelensky has until now been extremely stubborn, stating the conflict could end if Russia fulfilled the conditions of the “peace formula” he presented, although Moscow has already ruled out negotiations based on Zelensky’s plan. This means the conflict shall not end even in the near future.

File Image: Zelensky

In December, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an increase in the number of Russian troops of nearly 170,000, bringing the size of the army to 2.2 million, including 1.32 million troops.

As for Ukraine, according to the latest polls conducted by Rating Group, one of the biggest nongovernmental and independent research organizations in Ukraine, almost half of Ukrainians (44 percent) declared their readiness for compromises in peace negotiations with Russia, but about the same number (48 percent) were in favor of continuing hostilities.

In an October 2023 interview with Berliner Zeitung, former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroder said that Washington prevented the conflict from being resolved in March 2022. He believes Washington is the only one that can resolve the issue of a settlement. Therefore, the 2024 US presidential election, in addition to the European Parliament elections, might contribute to evolving approaches toward the war and the role of Western countries in it.

Meanwhile, although elections are also expected to be held in Ukraine this spring, President Zelensky is unwilling to let them be held as he is acutely concerned about the “Churchill phenomenon,” referring to the electoral defeat of successful British wartime leader Winston Churchill in 1945.

Zelensky, although has until now succeeded in uniting Ukrainians for a “national struggle”, he faces acute criticism that includes rampant corruption and loot of public wealth, which he fears would add a domestic challenger to his external struggles that may lead to his humiliating defeat in the election.

With such complexities – from the shortage of cash and military hardware to multiple allegations, including corruption, for Volodymyr Zelensky, the coming months may continue to be increasingly challenging and harder. On the other hand,

Russia continues to build its important role among what it terms the “world majority,” for example, countries in the Global South and the East, which will help it sustain its economy and war effort. Amid such dynamics, the possibility of peace in Ukraine or President Volodymyr Zelensky winning the war against Russia remains largely elusive.

  • Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury is an internationally acclaimed multi-award-winning anti-militancy journalist, writer, research-scholar, and Editor, Blitz, a newspaper publishing from Bangladesh since 2003. He regularly writes for local and international newspapers. Follow him on X @Salah_Shoaib
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