According to British intelligence, both sides suffer heavy casualties as Ukraine retaliates against Russia
Russia and Ukraine are suffering high military casualties as Ukraine struggles to drive Kremlin forces out of the occupied territories in the early stages of its counteroffensive, British officials said on Sunday.
Russian casualties are likely to be at their highest level since the height of the Battle of Bakhmut in March, British military officials said in their regular assessment.
According to British intelligence, the fiercest fighting was concentrated in the southeastern Zaporizhia province, around Bakhmut and further west in Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk province. While the update reported that Ukraine was on the offensive in those 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 Russia had carried out 43 airstrikes, four rocket attacks and 51 multiple rocket launcher attacks in the past 24 hours. According to the General Staff statement, Russia continues to focus its efforts on offensive operations in Ukraine’s industrial east, focusing on attacks around Bakhmut, Avdiivka, Marinka and Lyman in Donetsk province. There were 26 battles.
Donetsk region governor Pavlo Kyrylenko said two civilians were killed and three others injured over the past day.
Ukrainian officials said Russian forces have also carried out airstrikes on other regions 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 Zaporizhia regional governor Yuriy Malashko said one person was in Russian attacks that hit 20 settlements in the province, get hurt.
Vladimir Rogov, an official with the Moscow-appointed administration in the partially occupied Zaporizhia region, said Sunday that Ukrainian forces had taken control of the village of Piatykhatky on the Zaporizhia front.
Serhiy Brachuk, spokesman for the regional government in the southwestern province of Odessa, said Ukrainian forces destroyed a “very important” ammunition depot near the Russian-held port city of Henichesk in nearby Kherson province.
“Our armed forces dealt a heavy blow in the morning,” Bratschuk said in a video message published on his Telegram channel on Sunday morning.
Western analysts and military officials have warned that Ukraine’s counter-offensive to drive out Kremlin troops from the occupied territories, using modern weaponry supplied by the West in attacks along the 1,000-kilometer (600-mile) frontline, could be a long one.
A group of African leaders have been conducting a self-proclaimed “peacekeeping mission” in both Ukraine and Russia in recent days to help end their nearly 16-month war, but the visit ended on Saturday with no immediate signs of progress.
In other developments:
– Volodymyr Artyukh, the governor of Ukraine’s northern Sumy region, which borders Russia, said a father and his son were killed by Russian shelling of the village of Bilopilya. Across the border, three villages in Russia’s Kursk region were hit by Ukrainian shelling, Governor Roman Starovoit said.
– The death toll from flooding following the destruction of the Kakhovka Dam has risen to 16 in Ukraine-controlled areas, Ukraine’s Interior Ministry said late Saturday, while Russian officials said 29 people had died in Moscow-controlled areas .
Massive flooding following the destruction of the dam on June 6 devastated towns on the lower Dnieper River in Kherson province, a front line in the war. Russia and Ukraine blame each other for causing the breach.
– As the deadline for all Russian volunteer formations to sign contracts with the Russian Defense Ministry nears, in what is widely seen as an attack on the Russian mercenary group Wagner, Wagner leader and regular Kremlin critic Yevgeny Prigozhin said on Sunday that 32,000 former prisoners will be released after their Contracts returned home with Wagner in Ukraine.
According to Prigozhin, 83 crimes were committed by returnees, which he says is “80 times fewer” than the number released from prison over the same period without having served with Wagner.
Prigozhin traveled to Russian prisons to recruit fighters and promised them pardons if they survived six months of combat with Wagner. In an interview last month, Prigozhin said he had recruited 50,000 convicts, about 10,000 of whom were killed in Bakhmut.