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Ukraine Says Russian Death Toll Rises To More Than 110,000

By RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service January 08, 2023

Ukraine says that 111,170 Russian military personnel have been killed in Ukraine since Russia invaded the country on February 24 last year.

In its latest update on January 8, the Ukrainian General Staff reported that 430 more Russian soldiers had been killed the previous day.

The regular update -- which is typically higher than Western estimates -- also says that Russia lost three more tanks and three more artillery systems.

Russian forces continued to hit civilian targets in Ukraine "over the past day," despite Russian President Vladimir Putin announcing a cease-fire on Orthodox Christmas, Kyiv said on January 8.

Russia "launched nine missile and three air strikes, and fired 40 attacks from multiple rocket launchers," the Defense Ministry said in a statement. "In particular, civilian infrastructure was hit."

Ukrainian authorities said at least two people were killed, and nine others were wounded by Russian strikes over the past 24 hours. The casualties were reported from the eastern region of Donetsk, the northeastern region of Kharkiv, and the southern region of Kherson, they said.

In Zaporizhzhya, in southeastern Ukraine, Russian forces targeted the city's outskirts overnight, firing "cluster munitions," local authorities claimed on January 8.

"The rockets damaged warehouses and other auxiliary facilities," Oleksandr Starukh, the head of the regional military administration, wrote on Telegram.

Municipal council secretary Anatoliy Kurtev said the latest strikes inflicted "damage to infrastructure," but he didn't provide further details.

On January 5, Putin announced that his troops would observe a cease-fire across the front line so Orthodox Christians could celebrate Christmas.

The 36-hour cease-fire would run from the midday on January 6 until the midnight on January 7. Ukraine rejected the call, saying it was only a ploy by Putin to reposition and reinforce his troops.

On January 7 in Kyiv, hundreds of worshipers attended a service at the 11th-century Pechersk Lavra as Metropolitan Epifaniy, head of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, led a Christmas liturgy. He said Christmas incites people to fight against evil, sin, and darkness.

"These considerations especially echo in our hearts at the time of the most difficult trials of the war, which our Ukrainian people are going through," he said.

Ukraine did not want the war, which he said resulted from "devilish malice and envy" on the part of "those who held us captive" for centuries. After Ukraine became independent and started building its own sovereign state, they "could not tolerate our achievements and success" and started a war.

"But they will definitely be defeated in it, because the truth is on our side," he said.

Epifaniy said Ukraine had already achieved a moral victory because all people of goodwill "condemn the acts of genocide, terror and numerous war crimes committed by the evil Russian empire on our land."

The monastery used to be the seat of a branch of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC) that was previously under Moscow's jurisdiction. The UOC severed ties after Russia invaded Ukraine in February.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy told Ukrainians in a message on Orthodox Christmas that he was glad to see the hundreds of worshipers who turned out on January 7 for the holiday service in the Pechersk Lavra in Kyiv, including Ukrainian soldiers.

"It is very important that a sincere prayer for Ukraine was and will continue to be heard in the Lavra today," Zelenskiy said in a video message late on January 7.

"Once again, I congratulate everyone who celebrates today, on this day, which has already become historic for Ukraine, for the spiritual independence of our people, with a Merry Christmas," he said.

He also encouraged Ukrainians to "keep the mood that was felt today -- a mood of joy at the strengthening of Ukraine and at the achievement of historical justice."

According to the UN refugee body, the Russian invasion of Ukraine has unleashed the largest wave of refugees since World War II.

"More that 7.9 million people have fled the country, and another 5.9 million are internally displaced," the UNHCR representative in Germany, Katharina Lumpp, said on January 8.

The total figure of almost 14 million represents more than one-third of the country's total population of around 41 million. Lumpp said Germany's contribution of more than $500 million to refugee support was second only to that of the United States.

With reporting by AFP, UNIAN, and dpa

Source: https://www.rferl.org/a/ukraine-russia-war-death- toll/32214245.html

Copyright (c) 2023. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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