By Dan Peleschuk
Smoke rises following the explosion of a Russian tank after it was targetted by Ukrainian forces in Northwest Bakhmut, Donetsk Region, Ukraine, in this screengrab taken from a handout video released on June 30, 2023. SIRKO TEAM – 225TH BATTALION OF UKRAINE’S 127TH TERRITORIAL DEFENCE BRIGADE
A HMMWV (Humvee) vehicle moves along a road near a the recently retaken village of Novodarivka, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, in Zaporizhzhia region, Ukraine July 2, 2023.
KYIV, July 4 (Reuters) – A Ukrainian counteroffensive against Russian forces has been “particularly fruitful” in the past few days and Ukraine’s troops are fulfilling their main tasks, a senior security official said on Tuesday.
The comments by Oleksiy Danilov, Secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defence Council, were Kyiv’s latest positive assessment of the month-old counterattack although Moscow has not acknowledged Ukraine’s gains.
Russia, which began its full-scale invasion in February 2022, still holds swathes of territory in eastern and southern Ukraine but Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Monday his troops had made progress after a “difficult” week.
“At this stage of active hostilities, Ukraine’s Defense Forces are fulfilling the number one task – the maximum destruction of manpower, equipment, fuel depots, military vehicles, command posts, artillery and air defense forces of the russian army,” Oleksiy Danilov, the head of Ukraine’s National Security and Defence Council, wrote on Twitter.
“The last few days have been particularly fruitful,” he said, without providing any details from the battlefield.
Valeriy Shershen, spokesperson for the Tavria, or southern, military command, said Ukrainian troops had advanced by up to two km (1.2 miles) in the Berdiansk direction of southern Ukraine, despite fierce Russian resistance.
On Monday, Deputy Defence Minister Hanna Maliar said fighting had surged around the eastern city of Bakhmut, captured by Russian forces in May. She said the Ukrainian military had taken back 37.4 square kilometres (14.4 square miles) of territory overall in heavy fighting in the past week.
Military spokesperson Andriy Kovalev said on Tuesday Ukraine was continuing to put pressure on Russian forces north and south of Bakhmut, and had enjoyed “partial success” in heavy combat.
He said the Ukrainian military was managing to hold back an attempted advance by Russian forces in the Lyman, Avdiivka and Marinka directions in eastern Ukraine.
Reuters is unable to verify the situation on the battlefield, where each side says the other is suffering heavy losses.
Russia said on Tuesday Ukraine had attacked Moscow with at least five drones that were all either shot down or jammed, though one of the capital’s main airports had to reroute flights for several hours.
Russian shelling on Tuesday morning killed a man and a woman in the southern Ukrainian city of Kherson, the local prosecutor’s office said.
Credit Reuters, 2023