More than 2,300 Ukrainian soldiers have died since the Eastern Ukraine war began in April 2014, the head of the civilian-military cooperation department of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Oleksiy Nozdrachov, said Tuesday. In addition to the death toll, which represented nearly a third of the total number of deaths in the country as a result of the war, there were reported to be around 270 service personnel still unaccounted for, according to Tass, a news agency backed by the Russian government.
"As of today, the death toll is about 2,300 Ukrainian soldiers, but it is difficult to say how many people are missing in action, because, as seen from experience, 40 percent of them are often captives,” said Nozdrachov, who added that he believed the remaining 60 percent have been killed in action.
However, a Ukrainian estimate suggested that there were anywhere between 70 and 200 troops and civilians just being held in captivity, a report Monday by Unian said. Around 60 of those people detained by pro-Russian rebels in Eastern Ukraine were likely just civilians, said Yuriy Tandyt, special advisor to the Security Services of Ukraine, in the report.
Many of the soldiers being held have come from the regular Ukrainian military, soldiers of the National Guard, and from various volunteer battalions around the country. In total, it’s thought that around 7,000 soldiers and civilians have died since the fighting began, with around 1,500 of those coming since the Minsk II ceasefire was instituted Feb. 15.
Clashes between pro-Russian rebels and Ukrainian troops have increased in recent months, with more than 120 attacks coming Monday night and early Tuesday evening alone.