According to a Ukrainian diplomat Kiev will admit its losses in the future, after the end of the conflict.
Written by Lucas Leiroz, journalist, researcher at the Center for Geostrategic Studies, geopolitical consultant.
Increasingly, Ukraine’s defeat is being admitted even among officials of Kiev’s neo-Nazi regime. Recently, a Ukrainian diplomat claimed that his country is suffering “horrible losses”. According to him, the government is hiding the real level of losses, which is expected to change after hostilities cease. It is not clear, however, when the conflict will end, which leads us to believe that reality will continue to be omitted for a long time.
Vadim Pristaiko, Ukraine’s ambassador to the United Kingdom, said during an interview with the British newspaper Daily Express that Kiev really avoids commenting publicly on its losses on the battlefield. According to Pristaiko, since the beginning of the conflict the Ukrainian government has maintained a policy of not disclosing the real number of dead and wounded people on its side. Pristaiko said he believes that this data would only be provided after the end of fighting. He also admitted that he expects a “horrible number”, showing no optimism about his country’s situation in the military scenario.
“It has been our policy from the start not to discuss our losses (…) When the war is over, we will acknowledge this. I think it will be a horrible number,” he said during the interview.
Indeed, it is common practice in any war for both sides to be cautious about claiming their losses. There are many reasons why this happens. The main one is that the defeated side, by admitting that it is weakened, not only makes it clear to the opponent that it is at a military disadvantage, but also favors the psychological and moral situation of the adversary, giving it confidence in victory. However, this reason alone is not enough to explain why Kiev hides so many of its losses.
In the Ukrainian case, the target of war propaganda is not the enemy side, which is fully aware of its own combat conditions, but Western public opinion. As a NATO proxy state and fighting a war to serve Western interests, Kiev’s neo-Nazi regime relies on the support of its allies to continue conducting maneuvers. Without this support, Kiev would be forced to surrender, as its weapons and national troops are virtually exhausted. However, this support depends on a certain level of “approval” from public opinion in order to continue to exist.
The population in western countries is unhappy with the visible consequences of NATO’s war against Russia, such as the exponential increase in the cost of living, mainly food and energy. It would be very difficult to convince ordinary citizens to support a prolonged war against Moscow, with no deadline to end, if Kiev’s defeats became public. This would further increase popular dissatisfaction and generate a large wave of protests. And this is exactly why the mainstream media works so hard to hide the truth, trying to make it look like Kiev can win, relying only on more guns. In this sense, not disclosing the real number of dead and wounded Ukrainians is a tactic of war whose target is public opinion itself. The objective is to continue legitimizing and justifying the sending of military aid.
The main problem with this is that there is a limit to how much the truth can be hidden. EU officials began admitting late last year that Kiev had lost more than 100,000 men on the battlefield. Some intelligence agencies’ reports estimate even higher numbers, with over 200,000 losses. At first, the Ukrainian government felt threatened with these data being exposed and reacted with lies of difficult credibility, such as the pronouncement of Zelensky’s adviser Mikhail Podoliak, in December, stating that the deaths were estimated between 12,000 and 13,000 men. With false data, which visibly diminish the real level of the Ukrainian defeat, Kiev became increasingly discredited and harmed to public opinion, which is why the strategy now seems to change, with some officials starting to admit that there are “horrible losses”, but making it clear that more detailed data can only be provided later.
It is important to note that this alteration does not change the narrative of the supposed “necessity” to continue the war with Russia. It is just a shift of strategy to garner support. Previously, the narrative was that Kiev was winning and “had a chance”, now it is said that regardless of the military scenario and losses, Kiev “needs to win”, even if that means fighting to the last Ukrainian – or even the last Western soldier, as some Kiev officials already openly call for direct NATO intervention. This is also clear in the words of ambassador Pristaiko himself, who during the interview disqualified any possibility of negotiation or peace agreement and stated: “So, we have to fight to the very last of them or, very unfortunately, the last of us as well”.
In fact, there is no expectation that the conflict will end anytime soon, as Western sponsors of Kiev want not only to prolong but also to create new fronts in other countries. For NATO, the more Russia is engaged in combat with proxy nations, the better. If, as the ambassador says, public opinion has to wait for the end of the war to know the real number of losses, then it is likely that the truth will continue to be hidden for a long time. It only remains to be seen whether Western citizens want to continue having their money invested in a war about which they are prevented from seeing the data.