Russia says it thwarts another major attack in Ukraine, inflicting heavy losses

  • Russia says Ukraine launched offensive on Sunday
  • Ukraine makes no point out of counteroffensive beginning
  • Zelenskiy hails ‘the information now we have been ready for’

KYIV, June 6 (Reuters) – Russia mentioned on Tuesday it had thwarted another major Ukrainian offensive in Donetsk, inflicting heavy losses, whereas Ukraine hailed progress in combating in the east, though it was unclear if it marked the start of a long-anticipated Ukrainian counteroffensive.

On Monday, Russia mentioned Ukrainian forces over the weekend had begun a major offensive in the southern a part of the Donetsk area, which it had additionally thwarted.

Ukrainian officers have made no point out of any broad, important new marketing campaign, though in his nightly handle on Monday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy was enigmatic, hailing “the news we have been waiting for” and ahead strikes in Bakhmut in Donetsk.

Russian President Vladimir Putin despatched troops into Ukraine on Feb. 24 final yr in what the Kremlin anticipated to be a swift operation, however its forces suffered a sequence of defeats and regrouped in the nation’s east.

Tens of 1000’s of Russian troops dug in over the winter, besieging Bakhmut for months and bracing for an anticipated Ukrainian counter-attack to attempt to minimize Russia’s so-called land bridge to the Crimean Peninsula.

The newest Russian defence ministry assertion mentioned Russian forces had inflicted enormous personnel losses on attacking Ukrainian forces and destroyed 28 tanks, together with eight Leopard major battle tanks and 109 armoured autos. It mentioned whole Ukrainian losses amounted to 1,500 troops.

“Having suffered heavy losses the day before, the Kiev regime reorganized the remnants of the 23rd and 31st mechanized brigades into separate consolidated units, which continued offensive operations,” the ministry mentioned on Telegram.

“A complex fire defeat was inflicted by army forces, assault and operational-tactical aviation, missile forces and artillery, as well as heavy flamethrower systems.”

Reuters couldn’t independently confirm the experiences. There was no speedy remark from Kyiv about Russia’s assertions.

Russia and Ukraine have usually made claims of inflicting heavy human losses on one another which couldn’t be independently verified.

The Washington Post reported that some U.S. officers thought the counteroffensive was underway, however White House nationwide safety spokesperson John Kirby declined to say whether or not he thought this was the case.

“I’m not going to be talking for the Ukrainian military,” he instructed a daily briefing.

“(But) whenever they decide to step up and whatever they decide to do, the president is confident that we did everything we could over the last six, eight months or more to make sure that they had all the equipment, the training, the capabilities to be successful.”

In a promotional video launched on Sunday and urging silence in regards to any navy actions, Ukraine’s defence ministry mentioned: “Plans like silence – the beginning will not be announced.”


The success or failure of a counteroffensive, anticipated to be waged with billions of {dollars} value of superior Western weaponry, is more likely to affect the form of future Western diplomatic and navy assist for Ukraine.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba instructed Reuters on Monday Ukraine now had sufficient weapons for a counteroffensive however declined to remark when asked whether or not it had begun.

Russia’s defence ministry mentioned beforehand Ukraine had launched a large-scale offensive on Sunday in 5 sectors of the entrance in southern Donetsk, an space the place Moscow has lengthy suspected Ukraine would search to drive a wedge by way of Russian-controlled territory.

“The enemy’s goal was to break through our defences in the most vulnerable, in its opinion, sector of the front,” it mentioned. “It had no success.”

In its night report on Monday, Ukraine’s General Staff made no point out of any large-scale offensive, nor did it counsel any deviation from the same old tempo or scope of combating alongside entrance strains that haven’t modified considerably for months.

Deputy Defence Minister Hanna Maliar mentioned on Telegram Ukraine was “shifting to offensive actions” alongside elements of the entrance however dismissed recommendations of a major operation.

“The main focus now is on the Bakhmut sector,” mentioned Maliar. “This has resulted in certain successes, including advances. We have taken control of certain heights.”

Russian Wagner group mercenaries captured Bakhmut final month and handed their positions there to common Russian troops.

Writing on Telegram, Wagner militia chief Yevgeny Prigozhin, who has usually clashed with the Russian defence ministry, mentioned its newest assertion and the large Ukrainian losses it described was “simply wild and absurd science fiction.”

Russia now controls not less than 18% of internationally recognised Ukrainian territory and has claimed 4 extra areas of Ukraine as Russian territory after annexing Crimea in 2014.

Reporting by Reuters bureaux, Lidia Kelly and Ron Popeski; Writing by David Brunnstrom; Editing by Rosalba O’Brien

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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