As of May 21, the Ukrainian military has 700,000 servicemembers on active duty to combat the Russian invasion, said President Volodymyr Zelensky during an interview on Ukrainian television.
Prior to the war, the number of serving, active-duty military personnel was officially capped at 250,000 servicemen.
Zelensky noted that to resist the full-scale Russian invasion, the Ukrainian army needed more than the 250,000 servicemembers of its pre-war Armed Forces, including the 120,000 who had combat experience. More servicemen were needed.
“From the point of view of the amount of forces used by the Russian Federation, which deployed everything – reserves, “silent” mobilization etc… They relocated a lot of troops…a really huge amount,” said the president during his appearance on the Ukraine 24 television station.
He added that the amount of troops deployed by the Russian Federation would pose a challenge to any European country.
“But even if we would have added 100,000 soldiers – we wouldn’t be able to stop Russia,” Zelensky insisted.
“Now we have 700,000. So what you see is the result of the work of 700,000 people who are fighting and defending our territory.”
Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, when the town of Vasylkiv, the Boryspil near Kyiv, and the Dnipro airport in Dnipro, became first victims of Russian missile strikes.
May 21 is the 87th day of a full-scale war. The Russian invaders attempted to conduct offensive operations from the North, East and South, using mass artillery and aircraft to shell peaceful cities all over Ukraine.
Since the first days and weeks of war, the most complicated military situation has been in in Kharkiv, Chernihiv and Mariupol. For more than a month, the Russian army shelled Kyiv and its outskirts. Several suburbs of Kyiv were almost completely destroyed – Bucha, Irpin, Makariv, Borodyanka.
Local residents of the Kyiv districts of Borshchahivka and Holosiiv reported that combat had been occurring along the city’s outskirts in March. Kyiv’s territorial defense forces managed to push the invaders back.
Currently, the Russian invaders are attempting to establish control over the non-occupied portions of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts.
The Russian army controls some territories in Zaporizhzhya, Kherson and Kharkiv Oblasts. However, the Ukrainian army is conducting its own counter-offensive operation there.
On April 22, the Russian government officially stated that its goal for the “second phase of the war” is to establish full control over Ukraine’s Donbas, and the Black Sea Coast, in order to establish a land bridge from Crimea to Donbas.