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AS MANY as 1,000 Ukrainian soldiers are being killed or wounded every day in the eastern Donbass region, a senior government official has warned.
David Arakhamia, who leads Ukraine’s negotiations with Russia, disclosed the revised figures at a meeting at the German Marshall Fund in Washington on Wednesday.
Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelensky had previous said that between 60 and 100 soldiers were being lost each day.
But just weeks later Mr Arakhamia, who heads Mr Zelensky’s Servant of the People party in the Ukrainian parliament, said the daily number now averaged 200-500 lost in combat.
He said Ukraine needed weaponry and ammunition to match Russia in “one of the biggest fights of the 21st century.
“We have the people trained to attack, to counterattack, but we need weapons for this,” he said.
Mr Arakhamia said Ukraine’s negotiating position is “actually quite weak” and needed to reverse this, stressing the need for a counter-operation to regain territory lost since Russia invaded in February.
While formal negotiations have stalled he said that Ukraine and Russia speak “once or twice a week” but that “both sides clearly realise that right now, there is no place for negotiation.”
The Ukrainian diplomat said that high oil prices were insulating Russia at the moment with the effect of sanctions expected to take three or four years.
“The question is if we [Ukraine] are still here in three or four years to enjoy the show,” Mr Arakhamia said.
Battle is now focused on the east of Ukraine with the city of Severodonetsk deemed to be key to the future of the Donbass region.
Fierce fighting has continued there with Russia now controlling most of the city.
The Azot Chemical Plant remains one of the final strongholds of the Ukrainian armed forces who are believed to be cut off after the destruction of the last bridge out.
Some 2,500 soldiers are believed to be holed up there. Russia had called for them to surrender by today.
Russian sources claimed to have called a temporary ceasefire today to allow humanitarian aid to enter the city but then said they were attacked by a Ukrainian tank.
The battle for Donbass has seen intense shelling of civilian areas by both armies.
Local officials said that more than 300 artillery rounds were fired in Donetsk today with footage showing plumes of black some billowing from the Kivesky residential district.
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