Both sides suffer heavy casualties as Ukraine retaliates against Russia, UK assessment says

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Russia and Ukraine are suffering high military casualties as Ukraine battles to dislodge Kremlin forces from occupied areas at the start of its counteroffensive, British officials said Sunday. .

Russian casualties are likely at their highest since the peak of the Battle of Bakhmut in March, British military officials said in their regular assessment.

According to British intelligence, the heaviest fighting was concentrated in the southeastern province of Zaporizhzhia, around Bakhmut and further west in Donetsk province in eastern Ukraine. While the update reported that Ukraine was on the offensive in these areas and had “made small advances,” it said Russian forces were conducting “relatively effective defensive operations” in southern Ukraine.

Ukraine’s military said in a regular update Sunday morning that in the past 24 hours Russia has carried out 43 airstrikes, four missile strikes and 51 attacks from multiple rocket launchers. According to the General Staff’s statement, Russia continues to focus its efforts on offensive operations in the industrial east of Ukraine, concentrating attacks around Bakhmut, Avdiivka, Marinka and Lyman in Donetsk province. , with 26 clashes.

Donetsk regional governor Pavlo Kyrylenko said two civilians had been killed and three others injured in the past day.

Ukrainian officials said Russian forces also launched airstrikes on other areas in the east and south of the country.

One civilian was killed and four others injured in Kherson province as a result of Russian attacks, regional governor Oleksandr Prokudin said, while Zaporizhzhia regional governor Yurii Malashko said one person was injured during the Russian attacks that hit 20 settlements in the province.

Vladimir Rogov, a Moscow-appointed administration official in the partially occupied Zaporizhzhia region, said on Sunday that Ukrainian forces had taken control of the village of Piatykhatky on the Zaporizhzhia battlefront.

Serhiy Bratchuk, spokesman for the regional government of the southwestern province of Odessa, said Ukrainian forces had destroyed a “very important” ammunition dump near the Russian-occupied port city of Henichesk in the neighboring province of Kherson.

“Our armed forces delivered a good blow in the morning,” Bratchuk said in a video message Sunday morning, posted on his Telegram channel.

Western analysts and military officials have warned that Ukraine’s counteroffensive aimed at dislodging Kremlin forces from occupied areas, using advanced Western-supplied weapons in attacks along the frontline than 1,000 kilometers (600 miles), could last a long time.

A group of African leaders have carried out a so-called ‘peace mission’ to Ukraine and Russia in recent days to try to end their nearly 16-month war, but the visit ended on Saturday with no immediate signs. of progress.

In other developments:

– Volodymyr Artyukh, governor of the Sumy region in northern Ukraine, which borders Russia, said a father and son were killed by Russian shelling of the village of Bilopilya. Across the border, Ukrainian shelling hit three villages in Russia’s Kursk region, its governor Roman Starovoit said.

– The flood toll following the destruction of the Kakhovka dam has risen to 16 on Ukrainian territory, the Ukrainian Interior Ministry announced on Saturday, while Russian officials said 29 people had died in the territories controlled by Moscow.

Massive flooding from the destruction of the dam on June 6 devastated towns along the lower Dnieper River in Kherson province, a frontline in the war. Russia and Ukraine accuse each other of having caused the rupture.

– As the deadline for all Russian volunteer formations to sign contracts with the Russian Defense Ministry approaches, widely seen as targeting the Russian mercenary group Wagner, Wagner leader and regular Kremlin critic Yevgeny Prigozhin, said on Sunday that 32,000 former prisoners had returned home after their contracts ended. with Wagner in Ukraine.

According to Prigozhin, 83 crimes were committed by those who had returned home, which he said was “80 times less” than the number committed by those who were released from prison in the same period without serving with them. Wagner.

Prigozhin visited Russian prisons to recruit fighters, promising pardons if they survived a six-month frontline tour with Wagner. In an interview last month, Prigozhin said he recruited 50,000 convicts, of whom around 10,000 were killed in Bakhmut.


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