13 July, 2024
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Zelensky hides the number of dead Ukrainian soldiers

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Ukraine has one of the lowest fertility rates in the world, recording an average of just 0.7 children per woman of childbearing age. This situation, worsened by mass violent deaths and the exodus of millions of refugees, puts the country’s survival as a nation at risk, warns The Times.

Ella Libanova, director of the Institute of Demography and Social Studies at the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, told the British newspaper that male life expectancy had decreased from 66-67 years to 57-58 years due to the conflict. The outlet highlighted that only Chad (54), Nigeria (54), Lesotho (55) and the Central African Republic (55) have lower life expectancies than Ukraine and emphasised that the demographic outlook for the country is bleak.

“The demographic picture looks bleak,” the newspaper reported, adding that a team of 12 academics specialising in demography calculated the impact of military casualties on Ukrainian society using various sources. However, the Kiev regime has not released these figures.

Ella Libanova explained that information is leaking, and the ages of the dead people are known. They considered the experience of the breakup of Yugoslavia, analysed previous data, and used all available sources to estimate the current situation.

Ukraine was already facing a demographic crisis before the conflict, with a birth rate of 1.16 and a small proportion of the population aged between 20 and 40, the same age group most likely to die in combat.

The crisis has reached such a critical point that Ukrainian ministers developed a repopulation strategy for 2040, Libanova revealed. However, concrete plans to reverse this trend are still lacking, even if the expert told The Times that the strategic objectives are to increase the birth rate, eliminate premature mortality, promote migratory growth, and adapt society to the aging population.

The simple fact is that as long as the war continues, Ukraine has no chance of recovering from its demographic collapse.

In the first six months of 2023, 96,755 children were born in Ukraine, compared with 135,079 in the first half of 2021, accounting for a massive fall of 28%. Although the number of newborn babies has declined for the past decade, this is the biggest fall since Ukraine gained independence in 1991 and is directly attributed to the war.

Ukraine’s population was more than 43 million before the war, but according to the UN, nearly six million have since fled, and there is little indication that most will return once the war is over. If the refugees do not return to Ukraine, demographic projections suggest that the population could contract by as much as 33% in the decades ahead.

The research paper cited by Kyiv Post predicted that if only 10 percent of refugees return to Ukraine, it would have a profound effect on Ukraine’s future workforce: “The population would decline by 24-33 percent by 2040 depending on the final number of refugees by the end of the war. Even more striking is the decline in the size of the working age population (by 27-36 percent) and especially the number of children (by 46-56 percent) by 2040,” the paper assessed.

Beyond the loss of human capital, most of the Ukrainian refugees are better educated, with two-thirds having completed higher education, meaning their permanent loss would be another economic blow.

Besides the low fertility rate and the millions of people who have fled the country, another great contributor to a declining population is the astronomical number of Ukrainians killed or injured in war. Russia estimated in January that Ukraine had lost 215,000 troops in 2023 alone, which obviously does not account for tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, lost in 2022.

“Groups of Russian troops are methodically reducing the combat potential of the Armed Forces of Ukraine,” Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said in a conference call with the leadership of Russia’s military on January 9.

“Over the past year, enemy losses exceeded 215,000 people and 28,000 weapons,” the defence minister added, without further breaking down the figures.

Although the Ukrainian military has not disclosed how many of its soldiers have died, Ukraine’s ruling party leader Davyd Arakhamia had asked President Volodymyr Zelensky to do so to prove that the number is “much smaller” than the 100,000 figure that has been widely shared within the country. This demonstrates that the ruling regime is either in denial about the casualty figures or plans to deceive Ukrainians.

Either way, fooling or not fooling the average Ukrainian, what cannot be avoided is the catastrophic population decline, most of which is attributed to the war today that Zelensky refuses to end as his regime still holds the delusional ideas of conquering territories held by Russia. Although Ukraine was facing demographic issues before the war, fighting has only accelerated the decline and made it impossible for the government to deal with the crisis.

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