Mykhaylo Podolyak, a senior advisor to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, said Thursday that Ukraine is losing between 100 and 200 troops in the fighting against Russia each day.
The estimate is higher than the one offered by Zelensky last week, who said Ukraine was losing between 60 and 100 troops each day. Until last week, Kyiv had not been offering casualty rates, but now it seems Ukrainian officials are sharing their battlefield losses to get more arms from the West.
“The Russian forces have thrown pretty much everything non-nuclear at the front and that includes heavy artillery, multiple rocket launch systems and aviation,” Podolyak told BBC.
Podolyak said that Ukraine needs more of the rocket systems the US and Britain are starting to send, which can hit targets up to 50 miles away, more than twice the range of the M777 Howitzers the US has been providing Kyiv.
“Our demands for artillery are not just some kind of whim… but an objective need when it comes to the situation on the battlefield,” Podolyak said. He added that Ukraine needs 150 to 300 rocket systems to match Russia. So far, the US has pledged to send four High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, known as HIMARS, and Britain has said it will send three US-made M270 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS).
Since President Biden recently signed a bill authorizing $40 billion for Ukraine aid, it’s possible the US will send many more rocket systems, which risks provoking Moscow as Russian officials have made clear that they view the weapons as a significant escalation. But first, the US has to train Ukrainian troops on how to use the systems, which could take time. Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley said the US will be training one Ukrainian platoon at a time.
Podolyak also told BBC that Ukraine would only resume peace talks with Russia if Moscow surrendered the territory it has gained since the invasion started on February 24. Podolyak had led the Ukrainian delegation in negotiations with Russia earlier in the war.