RUSSIA + UKRAINE

Zelensky warns ‘millions will be killed’ without US aid to Kyiv, as Ukrainian troop deaths reach at least 31,000

Feb 26, 2024, 7:30 AM

Soldiers carry the coffin of Ukrainian poet and serviceman Maksym Kryvtsov who was killed in action...

Soldiers carry the coffin of Ukrainian poet and serviceman Maksym Kryvtsov who was killed in action fighting against Russia's attack on Ukraine, during his funeral ceremony at St. Michael's Monastery in Kyiv, January 11.

Originally Published: 25 FEB 24 11:33 ET
Updated: 25 FEB 24 16:26 ET

(CNN) — “Millions” could die in Ukraine’s war with Russia if US lawmakers don’t approve President Joe Biden’s $60 billion aid request for Kyiv, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told CNN on Sunday.

Asked by CNN’s Kaitlan Collins about a claim made by the US Senator J.D. Vance that the outcome of the war would not change even if Ukraine receives the money, Zelensky said he wasn’t sure Vance “understands what is going on here.”

“To understand it is to come to the front line to see what’s going on, to speak with the people, then to go to civilians to understand … what will (happen to) them without this support. And he will understand that millions … will be killed. It’s a fact,” Zelensky said.

“Of course he doesn’t understand, God bless you don’t have the war on your territory,” he added.

Zelensky’s warning came just hours after the Ukrainian leader made a rare admission of troop losses, saying that about 31,000 Ukrainian soldiers have been killed so far in the conflict, during a conference in Kyiv.

Addressing the conference, Zelensky disputed Russian claims of much higher numbers when it comes to Ukrainian casualties. He added that “tens of thousands” of civilians have died in Ukrainian territory occupied by Russian forces.

“It’s a big loss to us. 31,000 Ukrainians, Ukrainian soldiers, died in this war. Not 300,000. Not 150,000, whatever (Russian President Vladimir) Putin is lying with,” Zelensky said. “Every loss is a huge loss to us.”

CNN cannot independently verify the numbers, which come on the weekend Ukraine marked two years since Russia’s full-scale invasion.

Throughout the conflict, Kyiv has been hesitant to admit how many soldiers have been killed. Former Ukraine Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov said in June 2022 that he believed tens of thousands of Ukrainians had been killed since February of that year.

Two months later, Valerii Zaluzhnyi, then the head of Ukraine’s armed forces, said 9,000 troops had been killed.

US officials estimate some 70,000 soldiers have been killed and nearly twice that number wounded.

Russia, meanwhile, has lost a staggering 87% of the total number of active-duty ground troops it had prior to the invasion, a source familiar with a declassified US intelligence assessment provided to Congress told CNN in December.

Zelensky’s comments come as his country faces setbacks on the battlefield and is struggling to secure more aid from its Western partners. In the United States, a foreign aid bill remains stalled in the House of Representatives by isolationist Republicans.

The Ukrainian leader said his country is counting on Congress to act.

“They know we need their support,” said Zelensky.

Zelensky also floated the possibility of attending a possible peace summit in Switzerland in the spring, though cautioned Russia may not be involved. He said that Putin “does not want to end this war.”

Reporting contributed by Andy Carey, and Madalena Araujo in Kyiv. This story has been updated with new information.

The-CNN-Wire
™ & © 2024 Cable News Network, Inc., a Warner Bros. Discovery Company. All rights reserved.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Russia + Ukraine

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy during his visit to utah...

Bridger Beal-Cvetko, KSL.com

‘Evil must always, always lose,’ Ukrainian President Zelenskyy says during Utah visit

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called for continued support for Ukraine during a visit to Utah on Friday.

6 days ago

President Joe Biden speaks at a news conference following the NATO Summit in Washington, Thursday, ...

SEUNG MIN KIM, ZEKE MILLER, LISA MASCARO and COLLEEN LONG Associated Press

Biden forcefully declares he’s staying in reelection race in major news conference

Top donors, supporters and key lawmakers are doubtful of Biden's abilities to carry on his reelection bid after his disastrous June 27 debate performance.

7 days ago

President Joe Biden speaks from the South Court Auditorium in the Eisenhower Executive Office Build...

CNN

Biden administration pauses ammunition shipment to Israel

The Biden administration paused a shipment of US-made ammunition to Israel, according to a source familiar with the matter.

2 months ago

A destroyed building in Ocheretyne village on the Adiivka frontline in eastern Ukraine last month....

Andrew Carey and Olga Voitovych, CNN

Russia makes tactical gains in eastern Ukraine, concerns raised over Ukrainian military reporting

Forces from Russia have made further gains in at least three locations along the eastern front in Ukraine.

3 months ago

tank fires at troops in ukraine, sen mike lee is trying to kill a foreign aid bill in the senate...

Bridger Beal-Cvetko, KSL.com

Utah Sen. Mike Lee rallying Senate to kill foreign aid bill for Ukraine, Israel

Sen. Mike Lee has repeatedly criticized efforts to send further military and economic aid to Ukraine.

3 months ago

Ukrainian Ambassador to the U.S, Oksana Markarova, speaking with different Utah leaders while visit...

BY ERIN COX KSLTV.com

Ambassador of Ukraine to U.S. meets with Utah state and church leaders

For the first time, Oksana Markarova, Ukrainian Ambassador to the US, paid Utah a visit. It’s a connection that’s been years in the making.

3 months ago

Sponsored Articles

A young woman smiles while reading the menu at a lakeside restaurant, enjoying the panoramic view o...

Bear Lake Convention & Visitors Bureau

The best restaurants to try in Bear Lake

Save this guide to the best restaurants in Bear Lake when you need to find a place to dine during your next visit.

Female leg stepping on weigh scales. Healthy lifestyle, food and sport concept....

Health Utah

Sustainable weight loss: the science-backed way to achieve it

Learn more about Debbie's weight loss journey with Health Utah, who have a unique weight loss philosophy for success.

Underwater shot of the fisherman holding the fish...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Your Bear Lake fishing guide

Bear Lake offers year-round fishing opportunities. By preparing ahead of time, you might go home with a big catch!

A group of people cut a purple ribbon...

Comcast

Comcast announces major fiber network expansion in Utah

Comcast's commitment to delivering extensive coverage signifies a monumental leap toward a digitally empowered future for Utahns.

a doctor putting her hand on the chest of her patient...

Intermountain Health

Intermountain nurse-midwives launch new gynecology access clinic

An access clinic launched by Intermountain nurse-midwives provides women with comprehensive gynecology care.

Young couple hugging while a realtor in a suit hands them keys in a new home...

Utah Association of Realtors

Buying a home this spring? Avoid these 5 costly pitfalls

By avoiding these pitfalls when buying a home this spring, you can ensure your investment will be long-lasting and secure.

Zelensky warns ‘millions will be killed’ without US aid to Kyiv, as Ukrainian troop deaths reach at least 31,000