Ukrainian servicemen drive a BMP-1 infantry fighting vehicle near the front-line town of Bakhmut Photo: Reuters
Vladimir Putin said he expected that Ukraine will continue the offensive because he acknowledged that the offensive to push Russian troops out of the country has begun.
“All counter-offensive efforts so far have not been successful,” Putin told a Russian journalist, “but the offensive the potential of the Kiev regime still remains.”
The remarks came when he announced that he would deploy nuclear weapons in Belarus from July 6, marking the first time that Moscow has deployed such weapons outside of Russia since the fall of the Soviet Union.
Ukraine launched several major attacks. against Russian troops in the south of the country since Monday, in what appears to be the start of a major offensive.
Zelensky is in “constant communication with the military”
Earlier on Friday, Volodymyr Zelensky acknowledged the campaign in the south for the first time, but said that it is too early to talk about it.
“I am in constant contact with our military. The commanders of Khortitsa, Tavria, all those involved in the hottest areas,” the President of Ukraine said in a video message. >In a video message, Volodymyr Zelenskyy acknowledged for the first time the campaign unfolding in the south of the country.
He added that “there is progress” in the Donbass, but said: “It's not the time to talk about it yet.”
Operational-strategic groups “Khortytsya” ” and “Tavria” are the main Ukrainian formations fighting in southern Ukraine.
On Friday, a representative of the military department said that “the enemy continues to conduct defensive operations in the Zaporozhye and Kherson directions,” but did not comment on Ukraine’s actions there .
The Russian Ministry of Defense said on Friday that its forces had repelled two Ukrainian attacks south of Orikhov in Zaporizhia region and four near Velyka Novoselka, about 50 miles to the east.
There were also reports of a Ukrainian attack. near the village of Lobkovo, 15 miles to the west.
The course of the battle is almost impossible to confirm due to the shutdown of Ukrainian communications. Most of the reports came from pro-Russian military bloggers and cannot be independently verified.
1006 Ukraine frontline
Oleksandr Sladkov, a Russian media correspondent, said the line has been stable and Ukrainian attacks have so far made no progress despite “intense” fighting.
War Gonzo, a blog with close ties to the military and the group Wagner mercenaries said the situation was “serious” and the Ukrainians managed to reach Russian lines near the village of Robotino, southeast of Orikhov, during a night attack.
None of the statements can be independently verified. , and propagandists on both sides released drone footage to give the impression that they were winning.
One video posted on a pro-Russian Telegram channel shows one Ukrainian Leopard 2 tank and at least four combat Bradley vehicles are disabled and abandoned in the field. Armored vehicles donated by the West appear to have been blown up by mines.
Another one published by pro-Ukrainian sources showed several Russian infantrymen leaving the trenches and fleeing on foot in the face of a Ukrainian attack.
Elsewhere, the Ukrainians claimed to have advanced 1,200 meters in 24 hours near Bakhmut in the Donbas, a significant advantage if confirmed. rotation.
Ukrainian soldiers on the front line near Kremennaya in Luhansk Photo: Roman Chop/AP
Ukrainian breakthrough in the Zaporozhye region may threaten to cut the land corridor connecting Russia with Crimea, isolating the Russian troops stationed there.
Russia has built defensive lines several miles deep in anticipation of an offensive.
Michael Kofman, director of Russian studies at the Center for Naval Analysis, told The Economist: actions reached only the initial boundaries of Russia. There are indications that the Ukrainian forces have made progress in breaking into the Russian positions, but also that the fighting is heavy, resulting in casualties.”
Major General Ivan Popov, Commander of the Russian 58th Army defending in the area, according to a voice memo shared by Russian military bloggers, that the attacking force included the 47th Separate Assault Brigade of Ukraine.
The 47th brigade is one of several trained in Great Britain and preparing to be equipped with Western weapons. for a counteroffensive.
There was no confirmation from the brigade. The last message in his official Telegram account was published on Sunday and reads: “Plans love silence. There will be no announcement of the start.