Ukraine, on Thursday, declared that over 26,000 people were nowhere to be found since Russia launched its full-scale invasion in 2022.
The number of officially missing people is difficult to estimate, as Russian forces still occupy around a fifth of the country and neither side regularly releases data on military casualties.
Deputy interior minister, Leonid Tymchenko, while on national television said, “As of now, more than 26,000 people are wanted and are missing under special circumstances. Of these, 11,000 are civilians and about 15,000 are military personnel,”.
This only includes people whose data has been officially verified, interior ministry spokeswoman Mariana Reva told AFP, adding that the “figures could grow”.
Large swathes of Ukrainian territory have remained under Russian occupation since the beginning of the war, which has devastated whole towns, cities and killed thousands.
Russia launched its invasion in February 2022.
Ukraine began a counteroffensive to take back occupied territory in June but has acknowledged slow progress as its forces encounter lines of heavily-fortified Russian defenses.