Russia has launched ‘active offensive’ operation – Kiev
Russian forces have struck Ukrainian troops on several fronts in an apparent attempt to assume the initiative, Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Anna Malyar claimed on Monday. The development comes as the much-touted Ukrainian counteroffensive of recent weeks has failed to bring about any major changes on the frontlines.
Moscow had mobilized additional forces and is mounting an “active offensive” operation in the Krasny Liman and the Kupyansk areas, Malyar said in a Telegram post, adding that the Russian troops were “trying to seize initiative from us.” Kiev’s forces in these areas had been subjected to intensive shelling, she added.
According to Malyar, Russian troops were still seeking to reach the administrative borders of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics. Krasny Liman is a Ukrainian-held town in the northern part of the Donetsk People’s Republic. Kupyansk is a town in the eastern part of the Kharkov region, located not far from the Lugansk People’s Republic border. It also hosts a major railway junction.
The Russian command has supposedly concentrated significant forces in the area, including elite airborne assault units, the deputy minister said. Ukrainian troops have allegedly been able so far to thwart attempts at advancement, she added.
The Russian Defense Ministry did not comment on these statements. Neither did it announce any offensive actions. On the Kupyansk front, Russian forces stopped two Ukrainian reconnaissance and sabotage groups, the ministry said in a daily briefing on Monday, adding that Ukraine had lost up to 45 soldiers there, as well as three infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs) and a piece of self-propelled artillery supplied by Poland.
On the Krasny Liman front, Russian aviation and artillery struck Ukrainian troop positions in three areas, the ministry’s statement published in Telegram said. There, Ukrainian forces lost 150 servicemen, two IFVs, armored vehicles, two self-propelled howitzers and regular howitzers, it added.
According to Moscow, Ukrainian forces also suffered heavy losses. Some 7,500 Ukrainian troops have been killed or injured since June 4, the Russian Defense Ministry said last week.
Earlier, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Ukraine had lost up to 30% of the military equipment supplied to it by the West.