Feb 26, 2024

By Jane Brown

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Ukraine’s president has detailed for the first time how many Ukrainian soldiers have been killed since the start of Vladimir Putin’s full scale Russian war just over 2 years ago.

Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on Monday that 31,000 Ukrainian soldiers have been killed in action since February 24th, 2022.

He also explained the number is far lower than estimates given by Russia’s government.

At the same time, Zelenskyy said he would not disclose the number of troops that are wounded or missing.

But he has revealed that tens of thousands of civilians have been killed in occupied areas of Ukraine, although he said an exact figure would not be available until the war is over.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau meantime is defending Canada’s defence spending levels as he wraps up a three-day visit to Ukraine and Poland.

(Poland’s Prime Minister Donald Tusk, right, greets Prime Minister Justin Trudeau ahead of talks on European security and support for Poland’s neighbour, Ukraine, in its struggle against Russia’s aggression, in Warsaw, Poland, on Monday, Feb. 26, 2024. AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)

He met Monday with Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk, who said it’s essential that the western world rise to meet the global threat posed by Russia.

Trudeau told Tusk at a news conference Canada and Poland have similar values, a deep commitment to democracy and creating prosperity for their citizens.

“That’s what we’ve been working on together for many, many years,” Trudeau explained, “Yes, it was really important that I was there in Ukraine for the anniversary, but it was also just as important to come see you in Poland.”

For his part, Poland’s prime minister says he’s convinced every NATO country will “sooner or later” reach the spending levels necessary to mount a proper defence.

Canada remains below the 2 percent spending target at 1.3 percent of gross domestic product.

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