- Ukraine has prepared a number of new military units for the counteroffensive, while its existing brigades held up against Russia's winter offensive in the east.
- The war has killed thousands of civilians, wrecked towns and cities, and forced millions of people to leave their homes.
Ukraine said on Monday that it had forced Russian forces out of an eighth town as part of its two-week-old counteroffensive. A defense official said that even though Moscow’s troops were fighting hard, Kyiv’s “biggest blow” was still to come.
Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar said that Ukrainian troops had retaken Piatykhatky, a settlement on a heavily fortified part of the front line near the most direct route to the country’s Azov Sea coast.
This was part of Kyiv’s plan to move up to seven kilometers (4.3 miles) into Russian territory in two weeks, taking over 113 square kilometers of land.
Maliar said on the Telegram messaging app, “The enemy won’t give up their positions easily, so we need to get ready for a tough fight.” The military is moving the way it should have been moving all along. “And the worst is still to come.”
She said that the fighting was the worst in the south and east of Ukraine. She also said that the Ukrainian military was stopping a Russian push in the east, where it had most of its troops and air assault troops.
In his nightly video address, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said that some parts of Kyiv’s forces were making progress while other parts were defending against attacks that were getting stronger. But, he said, Ukraine came out ahead in the end.
“We haven’t lost any posts; we’ve only freed some. “They’ve only had bad luck,” he said.
The Ukrainian military put out two high-quality videos on Telegram that showed what they said were attacks and advances by their troops as they tried to take back the town of Piatykhatky. The videos showed several attacks on Russian positions and a convoy. On the video, heavy smoke can be seen coming up from the area. On a country road, rows of armored Ukrainian trucks can be seen moving forward.
At the end of the film, soldiers from the 128th separate assault brigade stand in front of a building with columns and Ukrainian flags and say that the village has been freed.
Reuters was able to confirm where the video was taken, but they were not able to independently confirm when it was taken.
The General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces posted on Facebook that in the last 24 hours, anti-aircraft units had shot down four cruise missiles and four drones made in Iran.
It said that Russia had fired shells at more than a dozen towns and villages in the Zaporizhzhia region, including Piatykhatky.
The reports from the battlefield could not be checked by Reuters.
The reported capture of the villages shows that Ukraine’s wins so far have been small steps along lines that Moscow has been strengthening for months.
Piatykhatky, which is about 90 km from the coast, is important, though.
Zelenskiy said he would keep talking with Western friends about getting weapons and ammunition to them as soon as possible.
Russia released a video showing what its troops say is captured Western equipment, in this case a French-made tank that they say was taken in the eastern Donetsk area. They did this to make the West less determined. There was nothing about Piatykhatky.
Ukraine has admitted that Russia has attacked parts of the 1,000-km-long front line as part of its long-awaited counteroffensive to retake the 18% of its land that is held by Russia. However, for security reasons, Ukraine carefully controls information. Analysts say that the big part of the counterattack hasn’t started yet.
Both sides seem to have lost a lot in recent fighting, but each side says the other side has lost more.
Ukraine has prepared a number of new military units for the counteroffensive, while its existing brigades held up against Russia’s winter offensive in the east.
On its own, Ukraine Sergiy Boyev, the Deputy Minister for Strategic Industries, told Reuters on Monday at the Paris Airshow that Ukraine is in talks with Western arms makers to increase production of weapons, including drones, and maybe even in Ukraine.
The war has killed thousands of civilians, wrecked towns and cities, and forced millions of people to leave their homes. It has also made inflation worse around the world and changed the way security is set up.
Russia says it invaded Ukraine to “denazify” it. Ukraine and its Western friends say that this is just a lie to get more land.
Officials from two NATO countries said that Moscow was moving some of its troops around to try to guess where Ukraine would strike.
British and Estonian intelligence sources said that Russia had moved some troops east along the front line from areas south of the Dnipro river that were flooded when the huge Kakhovka hydroelectric dam broke on June 6.
Both Russia and Ukraine have said that the other is to blame for the release of the huge amount of water. Both sides of the front line in the Kherson area have lost homes and farmland because of flooding. 52 people have died, and more than 11,000 people have been told to leave their homes.