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Ukraine: Nearly 9,000 Troops Killed in War with Russia

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FILE - Soldiers hold a Ukrainian flag over the coffin of a soldier killed by Russian troops in battle, during his funeral at St. Michael cathedral in Kyiv, Ukraine, July 18, 2022.
FILE - Soldiers hold a Ukrainian flag over the coffin of a soldier killed by Russian troops in battle, during his funeral at St. Michael cathedral in Kyiv, Ukraine, July 18, 2022.

Ukraine's military chief says nearly 9,000 soldiers have died since Russia invaded Ukraine almost six months ago.

General Valerii Zaluzhnyi made the remarks Monday at a veterans event, giving the first official toll of Ukraine's military losses since April.

The United Nations says it has confirmed the deaths of more than 5,500 civilians during Russia's invasion of Ukraine, which began February 24.

The U.N. children's agency said Monday it has confirmed at least 972 Ukrainian children killed or injured from violence but said the true number is likely to be much higher.

Most of the child casualties have been caused by the use of explosive weapons, according to a statement by UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell.

Wednesday marks six months since the start of the war. It is also Ukraine's Independence Day, marking 31 years since the country gained independence from Soviet rule.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has warned of potential Russian actions against Ukraine as the country prepares to mark Independence Day.

Ukraine's capital, Kyiv, canceled public Independence Day celebrations. Reuters news agency said a government document shows authorities in Kyiv banned public events related to the anniversary from Monday through Thursday.

In other developments Monday, Ukraine reported fresh Russian aerial attacks near the site of a major nuclear power plant.

Regional governor Valentyn Reznichenko said Russian rocket strikes hit areas to the west of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. The rockets struck houses, a kindergarten and stores, Reznichenko said.

Russia and Ukraine have traded blame for repeated shelling near the power plant. Ukraine has asked the United Nations and other international organizations to force Russia to leave the site, which it has occupied since March, even as Ukrainian technicians operate the facility.

FILE - Members of the State Emergency Service attend nuclear disaster response drills amid shelling of Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine August 17, 2022.
FILE - Members of the State Emergency Service attend nuclear disaster response drills amid shelling of Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine August 17, 2022.

The White House said U.S. President Joe Biden, French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson discussed the situation in a call on Sunday.

A White House statement said the leaders talked about "the need to avoid military operations near the plant and the importance of an IAEA visit as soon as feasible to ascertain the state of safety systems."

Talks have been under way for more than a week to arrange a visit to the plant by the International Atomic Energy Agency.

In a phone call Friday, Russian President Vladimir Putin told Macron that Russia would allow international inspectors to enter the plant.

Some information for this story came from The Associated Press, Agence France-Presse and Reuters.

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