KYIV: Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky said about 2,500 to 3,000 Ukrainian troops have been killed in seven weeks of war with Russia and about 10,000 have been injured.
There was no count of civilian casualties, he told CNN on Friday.
Reuters could not independently verify either side’s numbers.
Thousands of civilians have died and tens of thousands remain trapped.
“The situation in Mariupol is difficult and hard. Fighting is happening right now. The Russian army are constantly calling on additional units to storm the city,” defence ministry spokesperson Oleksandr Motuzyanyk told a briefing.
He said the Russians have not completely captured it.
Russia said it struck what it described as a factory on the outskirts of the capital Kyiv that made and repaired anti-ship missiles, after the sinking on Thursday of the Moskva, the flagship of Moscow’s Black Sea fleet.
Ukraine said one of its missiles had caused the Moskva to sink, a powerful symbol of its resistance to a better-armed foe.
The US believes the Moskva was hit by two Ukrainian missiles and that there were Russian casualties, although numbers were unclear, a senior US official said.
None of the assessments could be independently verified.
Zelensky said the military situation in the south and east was “still very difficult”, while praising the work of his armed forces.
“The successes of our military on the battlefield are really significant, historically significant. But they are still not enough to clean our land of the occupiers. We will beat them some more,” he said in a late-night video address, calling again for allies to send heavier weapons and for an international embargo on Russian oil.
A White House spokesperson responded by saying, “We will continue to consider all options to increase the pressure on Putin.”
Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal and top finance officials will attend International Monetary Fund and World Bank meetings in Washington next week, sources told Reuters.
It will be the first chance for key Ukrainian officials to meet in person with financial officials from advanced economies since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on Feb 24.
If Moscow captures Mariupol, it would be the first big city to fall.
Both plants are owned by Metinvest, the empire of Ukraine’s richest businessman and backbone of Ukraine’s industrial east – which told Reuters on Friday it would never let its enterprises operate under Russian occupation.
Without the Moskva, the largest warship sunk during the conflict since Argentina’s General Belgrano in the 1982 Falklands war, its ability to menace Ukraine from the sea could be crippled.
Russia initially described its aims in Ukraine as “a special military operation” to disarm its neighbour and defeat nationalists there.
After its invasion force was driven from the outskirts of Kyiv this month, Moscow has said its main war aim is to capture the Donbas, the eastern region partly held by Russian-backed separatists since 2014.