Wednesday, July 6th, 2022

Depleted Russian units that failed to take Kyiv are merging, says MoD | Ukraine


Russian troops have been forced to merge and redeploy units from their “failed advances” in Ukraine’s north-east, the UK Ministry of Defence has said, as both Kyiv and Moscow deal with serious losses on the frontline in the Donbas region.

“Russia hopes to rectify issues that have previously constrained its invasion by geographically concentrating combat power, shortening supply lines and simplifying command and control,” a British military intelligence report released early on Saturday said.

“It has been forced to merge and redeploy depleted and disparate units from the failed advances in north-east Ukraine. Many of these units are likely suffering from weakened morale.”

After Moscow’s withdrawal from the areas north of Kyiv early in April, which unveiled the brutality of mass graves, with hundreds of civilian corpses buried in residential districts, about two weeks ago, the long-anticipated large-scale military operation in the Donbas and second phase of the war began, with Russian forces carrying out one of the biggest barrages of missile strikes since the beginning of the invasion.

According to figures reported by Russian news agency Interfax, Moscow’s artillery units had hit 389 Ukrainian targets overnight, including 35 control points, 15 arms and ammunition depots, and several areas where Ukrainian troops and equipment were concentrated.

The statement added that Russian missiles also struck four ammunition and fuel depots.

The report has not yet been independently verified.

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However, while acknowledging its own heavy losses from Russia’s attacks in the east, Kyiv has claimed to have inflicted “colossal” Russian losses during Moscow’s effort to fully capture the eastern Donbas region.

“We have serious losses, but the Russians’ losses are much, much bigger … They have colossal losses,” said a Ukrainian presidential adviser, Oleksiy Arestovych.

The English language newspaper Kyiv Independent has posted a graphic showing a tally of Russia’s combat losses caused by Ukraine’s armed forces, which used data from the Ukraine military.

According to the indicative estimates, as of 30 April, 23,200 Russian soldiers have been killed since the beginning of the invasion. Losses include the destruction of 190 Russian planes,more than 1,000 tanks, eight naval vessels, about 1,700 small vehicles, almost 2,500 armoured personnel carriers and 436 artillery systems.

Meanwhile, Ukraine’s second city, Kharkiv, was hit by more deadly shelling on Saturday while Ukrainian forces made some gains in the surrounding region.

Although Ukraine has retained control of Kharkiv, the city has been repeatedly battered by Moscow’s forces and still faces daily attacks.

One person was killed and five were injured in artillery and mortar strikes, Kharkiv’s regional military administration said on Telegram.

“The situation in the Kharkiv region is tough. But our military, our intelligence, have important tactical success,” the Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy said in his latest televised address.

Ukrainian forces said they had recaptured the village of Ruska Lozova, near Kharkiv, which had been occupied by Russian troops for two months, and evacuated hundreds of civilians.

Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby on Friday briefly choked with emotion as he described the destruction in Ukraine and denounced Putin’s “depravity”.

Ukrainian prosecutors say they have pinpointed more than 8,000 war crimes carried out by Russian troops and are investigating 10 Russian soldiers for suspected atrocities in Bucha near Kyiv.

It has been a month since the Ukrainian army pushed Russian forces out of the Kyiv region, yet local police and volunteers are still finding new graves. More than 1,000 bodies have been recovered there, according to Ukrainian prosecutors, who said many more people were killed by bombs, making their remains hard to find.

Moscow on Friday confirmed it carried out an airstrike on Kyiv during a visit by the UN secretary general, António Guterres.

Zelenskiy called for a stronger global response after the strike, saying that “a deliberate and brutal humiliation of the United Nations by Russia has gone unanswered”

Guterres had also toured Bucha and other Kyiv suburbs where Moscow is alleged to have committed war crimes.

Guterres tweeted on Friday: “I was moved by the resilience and bravery of the people of Ukraine. My message to them is simple: We will not give up.”

He added: “The UN will redouble its efforts to save lives and reduce human suffering. In this war, as in all wars, the civilians always pay the highest price.”

Reuters, Agence France-Presse and Associated Press contributed to this report





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