Ukraine Killed 3,500 Russians, Ex-President Says, Amid Fierce Kyiv Battles

More than 3,500 Russian soldiers have been killed since the invasion of Ukraine began earlier this week, according to the Ukrainian military.

Russia initiated the invasion on Thursday, following weeks of heightened tension between the two nations. The Russian military continue to move toward Ukraine's capital, Kyiv. The conflict threatens to upend the lives of millions of Ukrainians, many of whom have attempted to flee the country while others are being deployed to defend the country.

But so far, the invasion has also come at a price for the Russians. In addition to the thousands of claimed deaths, nearly 200 members of the Russian military have also been captured, Ukraine's Armed Forces said Saturday, according to The Kyiv Independent.

Russia has also lost 14 airplanes, eight helicopters, 102 tanks, 536 armed vehicles, 15 heavy machine guns and one BUK missile since the invasion began, Ukraine's military said.

For comparison, fewer than 2,500 U.S. service members have died in Afghanistan, a war that spanned two decades.

Former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko also cited the number of Russian deaths on CNN Tuesday, while urging that the nation should receive more weapons as the Russian military approaches Kyiv.

"Putin should explain to the Russians why already 3.5 thousand Russians are killed during the 72 hours of the Russian aggression," Poroshenko said.

He added that Ukraine has lost about 40 civilians, including two children—pointing out that Russia has attacked kindergartens and schools.

Meanwhile, at least six other people were injured after a Russian missile struck an apartment building outside of Kyiv early Saturday morning.

Russian troops continued making their way to the capital on Saturday, with the Ukrainian military fighting back. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in a video address Saturday that the nation's armed forces successfully repelled attacks from Russian forces.

"We successfully fought off enemy attacks," he said. "We are defending our country, our land, the future of our children. Kyiv and key locations near the capital are under our control."

Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of State authorized more than $350 million in military assistance to Ukraine, totaling more than $1 billion throughout the past year. The U.S. and other countries have also implemented sanctions against Russia in retaliation for the invasion.

Tensions between Russia and Ukraine have existed for years, with Russia long claiming that some areas in the southeastern part of Ukraine should belong to them. In 2014, tensions shook international politics when Russia invaded the region of Crimea.

Newsweek reached out to the Ukrainian military for further comment Saturday morning.

3,500 Russian Soldiers Killed
More than 3,500 Russian soldiers have been killed since the invasion of Ukraine began earlier this week, according to the Ukrainian military. Above, a Ukranian serviceman is seen in Kyiv on Friday. Anastasia Vlasova/Getty Images