KYIV, Ukraine(AFP) – In a fierce battle to dislodge Russian forces from occupied areas, both Ukraine and Russia have suffered significant military casualties, according to British officials. The latest assessment by the UK military indicates that Russian losses are at their highest since the intense fighting for Bakhmut in March.
The most intense clashes have occurred in the southeastern Zaporizhzhia province, particularly around Bakhmut, and further west in Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk province. While Ukraine has made small advances and is on the offensive in these areas, Russian forces are conducting relatively effective defensive operations in Ukraine’s south.
According to the Ukrainian military, Russia conducted 43 airstrikes, four missile strikes, and 51 attacks from multiple rocket launchers in the past 24 hours. The General Staff statement revealed that Russia continues to focus its offensive operations in Ukraine’s industrial east, targeting areas such as Bakhmut, Avdiivka, Marinka, and Lyman in Donetsk province, resulting in 26 combat clashes.
Donetsk regional Governor Pavlo Kyrylenko reported two civilian deaths and three injuries in the past day. Additionally, Russian airstrikes targeted other regions in the east and south of Ukraine, resulting in one civilian death and four injuries in Kherson province, according to regional Governor Oleksandr Prokudin. Zaporizhzhia regional Governor Yurii Malashko confirmed one injury caused by Russian attacks on 20 settlements in the province.
Vladimir Rogov, an official from the Moscow-appointed administration in the partially occupied Zaporizhzhia region, revealed that Ukrainian forces have taken control of the village of Piatykhatky on the Zaporizhzhia battlefront. Furthermore, Ukrainian forces destroyed a significant ammunition depot near the Russian-occupied port city of Henichesk in nearby Kherson province, as stated by Serhiy Bratchuk, spokesperson of the regional government in the southwestern Odesa province.
Analysts and military officials from Western countries have warned that Ukraine’s counteroffensive, utilizing advanced weapons supplied by Western allies along the 1,000-kilometer front line, may be protracted.
A recent “peace mission” conducted by African leaders to Ukraine and Russia did not yield immediate progress in ending the 16-month-old war between the two nations.
In other developments, Volodymyr Artyukh, the governor of Ukraine’s Sumy region, reported that a father and his son were killed by Russian shelling in the village of Bilopilya, while Ukrainian shelling hit three villages in Russia’s Kursk region.
The death toll from flooding following the destruction of the Kakhovka dam has risen to 16 in Ukrainian-held territory, as confirmed by Ukraine’s interior ministry. Russian officials reported 29 deaths in territories controlled by Moscow. Both sides continue to blame each other for the dam breach.
As the deadline approaches for all Russian volunteer formations to sign contracts with Russia’s Defense Ministry, specifically targeting the Wagner mercenary group, Wagner leader Yevgeny Prigozhin, a vocal critic of the Kremlin, claimed that 32,000 former prisoners had returned home after completing their contracts with Wagner in Ukraine. Prigozhin stated that these individuals committed 83 crimes, significantly lower than the number of crimes committed by prisoners released from jail during the same period but not associated with Wagner.