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Ukrainian military and right wing political leaders say they are. The evidence seems to support them.
In the past two weeks persistent rumors that Kiev has been hiding thousands of killed and wounded Ukrainian servicemen and ‘volunteers battalion’ casualties have forced their way into the Ukrainian press.
The most vocal allegations of a cover-up of Ukrainian combat deaths comes not from Russian media or the leaders of the ‘separatist’ Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, but from right wing MP and Radical Party leader Oleh Lyashko, and from the commander of Kiev’s ‘Donbas Battalion’ Semyon Semchenko.
Last month on his Facebook page Lyashko directly accused President Petro Poroshenko of hiding over 8,000 Ukrainian combat deaths — a number nearly eight times the ‘official’ KIA figures reported by the English-language Kyiv Post, which as of Friday was still stubbornly reporting ‘only’ 974 confirmed Ukrainian combat deaths – a highly dubious figure that has barely budged since the disastrous battle for Ilovaisk in early September.
According to Myroslava Petsa, a correspondent for Ukraine’s 5th Channel, Defense Minister Valeriy Heletey refused to discuss the casualties from in the Ilovaisk disaster in a recent parliamentary hearing. Ms. Petsa tweeted on October 1st that Heletey referred to the casualty lists from the Ilovaisk battle as classified. But who is Lieutenant General Heletey trying to hide Kiev’s true losses from, the Donbas militias or the Ukrainian people?