Colonel Oleksandr Makhachek left behind a widow, Elena, and their daughters Olena and Myroslava-Oleksandra. During the first 100 days of the war, his tomb was the 40th to be excavated in the Zhytomyr military cemetery, 140 kilometers west of the capital Kyiv.
He was killed on May 30 in Luhansk Oblast, eastern Ukraine, where fighting was raging. Nearby, the announcement of the burial of Viacheslav Dvornitskyi’s newly buried tomb states that he died on May 27. Other graves also showed soldiers killed within days of each other – May 10, 9, 7 and 5. And this is just one cemetery, in only one of the cities, towns and villages of Ukraine that lay troops to rest.
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said this week that Ukraine was now losing 60 to 100 troops every day in battle. By comparison, an average of nearly 50 U.S. soldiers died a day in 1968 during the deadliest year of the Vietnam War for U.S. troops.
Among the allies who paid tribute to Makhachek at his funeral on Friday was General Viktor Muzhenko, commander-in-chief until 2019. He warned that losses could worsen.
“This is one of the most important moments of the war, but it is not the peak,” he told the Associated Press. “This is the most important conflict in Europe since the Second World War. It explains why the losses are so great. To reduce losses, Ukraine now needs powerful weapons that match or even surpass Russian weapons. This would enable Ukraine to respond. in the same currency. ”
The concentration of Russian artillery causes many casualties in the eastern provinces, which Moscow has concentrated on, since its first invasion on February 24, failed to reach Kyiv.
Ben Hodges, a former retired general and former commander-in-chief of US forces in Europe, described the Russian policy as a “medieval approach” and said that until Ukraine was promised the delivery of US, British and other weapons to destroy and disrupt Russia. batteries, “such casualties will continue.”
“This battlefield is so much more dangerous than what we have all become accustomed to in the 20 years of Iraq and Afghanistan, where we did not have such numbers,” he said in a telephone interview.
“This level would include leaders, sergeants,” he added. “They do a lot of casualties because they are much more vulnerable, constantly moving and trying to do things.
Makhachek, 49, was killed in a village in the eastern part of Luhansk Oblast. A military engineer, who had commanded a platoon that laid minefields and other defenses, said Colonel Ruslan Shutov, a more than 30-year-old friend who attended his funeral.
“When the explosion started, he and a group hid in a shelter. There were four in his group and he told them to hide in the grave. He hid in another. Unfortunately, artillery fired at the grave where he was hiding.”
Ukraine had about 250,000 men and women in uniforms before the war and was adding an additional 100,000. The government has not disclosed how many people have died in the first 100 days of fighting. No one really knows how many fighters or civilians have died on both sides, and allegations of casualties by officials – who can sometimes be exaggerating or underestimating their numbers for public relations reasons – are almost impossible to verify.
However, as Ukraine’s losses increase, the miserable math of the war demands its replacement. There live 43 million people and manpower.
“The problem is recruiting, training, and bringing them to the forefront,” said Mark Cancian, retired U.S. Marine Corps chief of staff at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.
“If the war is now turning into a protracted struggle for decomposition, then you have to build a system to get replacements,” he said. “This has been a difficult time for any army in battle.
Muzhenko, the Ukrainian general, said Zelensky’s acknowledgment of heavy casualties would further boost Ukraine’s morale and that more Western weapons would help reverse the trend.
“The more the Ukrainians know about what is happening on the front lines, the more the will to resist will increase,” he said. “Yes, the loss is significant. But with the help of our allies, we can minimize it and reduce it and go on a successful offensive. This will require more powerful weapons.”
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