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Ukrainian troops greatly outnumbered – media

Kiev has reportedly admitted its forces in Donbass are greatly outnumbered by the Russian troops. Moscow’s forces have seven soldiers in Eastern Ukraine against each Ukrainian one, a Ukraine-based ABC correspondent, Tom Soufi Burridge, said on Twitter on Wednesday, citing Sergey Nikiforov, a spokesman for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Moscow has never officially revealed the total number of troops involved in what it calls a military operation in Ukraine. Before the conflict began, however, the Western media and officials made some estimates about the number of military personnel Russia had amassed on Ukraine’s borders. A week before the conflict broke out in late February, the US said that Russia had between 169,000 and 190,000 troops in the region. In mid-February, Estonian intelligence put that number at around 150,000.

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The figures revealed by Nikiforov put earlier statements made by Zelensky into question. Last week, the Ukrainian president said that Kiev had “700,000 people” under its command. “So, what you see is the result of the work of 700,000 people who are fighting and defending our territory,” he told the broadcaster Ukraine 24.

Zelensky’s aide, Alexey Arestovich, has also described the situation on the frontlines in Eastern Ukraine as “critical” for the Ukrainian troops. According to the high-profile presidential adviser, Ukraine has “lost” to Russia when it comes to the pace of accumulating reserves.

“We are lagging behind and that makes the situation on the frontlines extremely dire,” he said in an interview that aired on Wednesday. Arestovich added that he believes Russian troops might once again make advances in Ukraine’s north and mount an offensive in the south.

The Ukrainian people are “tired of the war” and have accumulated “a lot of grievances against each other,” the official admitted. Arestovich blamed the difficult situation facing the Ukrainian troops on Western nations’ reluctance to supply Kiev with heavy weapons, saying that “there are forces there that do not want us to win.”

The upcoming month “might not have been that hard … if our dear Western allies had provided us with weapons sooner,” he said. Separately, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba told the World Economic Forum that the situation in Donbass was “extremely bad” for Kiev and called on Ukraine’s Western backers to send in multiple rocket launchers “as soon as possible.”

Kiev has still indicated it is not ready for talks or any concessions to Moscow. In fact, Arestovich resorted to obscene language to criticize the Western officials and media that earlier suggested surrendering part of the nation’s territory in exchange for peace.

Russia attacked the neighboring state in late February, following Ukraine’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, first signed in 2014, and Moscow’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. The German- and French-brokered protocols were designed to give the breakaway regions special status within the Ukrainian state.

The Kremlin has since demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join the US-led NATO military bloc. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked and has denied claims it was planning to retake the two republics by force.

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