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Putin claims Ukraine suffered ‘catastrophic’ losses in counter attack

Kremlin says Russia in a 'state of war' in Ukraine
Source: Pixabay

President Vladimir Putin claimed Tuesday that Ukraine was suffering massive losses in its long-awaited counter-offensive against Russian forces in Ukraine, saying Kyiv’s casualties were ten times higher than Moscow’s.

His assessment came hours after Russia asserted having captured Western armoured vehicles from Kyiv’s forces on the battlefield and following deadly Russian missile strikes on the Ukrainian leader’s hometown.

“Their losses are approaching a level that could be described as catastrophic,” Putin said during a meeting in the Kremlin with Russian journalists and bloggers covering the conflict.

“We have 10 times fewer losses than those of the armed forces of Ukraine,” he noted, citing a ratio that could not be independently confirmed.

Kyiv over recent days has claimed to re-capture a series of villages in its eastern Donetsk region after launching a long-awaited offensive bolstered with Western weapons and training.

Putin however conceded during the meeting in the Kremlin that Russian forces were suffering from depleting stockpiles of some military equipment, pointing in particular to attack drones and missiles.

“High-precision ammunition, communications equipment, drones etc… We have them, but unfortunately, there is not enough.”

He acknowledged that authorities could have better anticipated recent cross-border attacks into Russia from Ukraine that forced Moscow to deploy artillery and fighter jets on its own territory.

– ‘Could have prepared better’ –

“In principle, one could have assumed that the enemy would behave this way, and one could have prepared better,” he said.

Putin televised comments came hours after Russian missile strikes on the hometown of Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky killed 11 people.

The strikes overnight hit multiple sites and smashed into a five-storey apartment building in the central city of Kryvyi Rig, leaving smoke billowing from the housing block strewn with debris.

“During this terrible night, the enemy killed 11 civilians in the city,” said Sergiy Lysak, the Dnipropetrovsk regional governor.

Zelensky said after the strikes that Russian forces were waging a campaign against “residential buildings, ordinary cities and people”.

“Terrorists will never be forgiven, and they will be held accountable for every missile they launch,” he said in a statement on social media.

Air raid sirens had earlier sounded across Ukraine as the capital Kyiv and the northeast city of Kharkiv also came under missile and drone attacks.

Ukraine’s air force said Russia launched 14 cruise missiles and four Iranian-made drones overnight, with 10 missiles and one drone intercepted.

– ‘Trophies’ –

The wave of attacks came shortly before Moscow claimed to have captured several German Leopard tanks and US Bradley infantry fighting vehicles.

The defence ministry released footage showing Russian troops surveying the equipment supplied to Ukraine by Western countries.

“Leopard tanks and Bradley infantry fighting vehicles. These are our trophies. Equipment of the Ukrainian armed forces in the Zaporizhzhia region,” the Russian defence ministry said in a statement.

Kyiv has appealed to its allies in the West to deliver a broad range of modern military equipment to help its forces recapture large swathes of territory held by Russia.

Russia’s defence ministry said some of the captured vehicles had working engines, suggesting that battles they were involved in had been short and that Ukrainian troops had “fled” their offensive positions.

Germany’s defence minister said that Berlin would not be able to immediately replace tanks that it had provided to Ukraine.

– Flooding toll rises –

The strikes across Ukraine came shortly after Kyiv claimed to have retaken seven villages and made advances in its counter-offensive.

Military spokesman Andriy Kovalyov said the area of the recaptured land in the eastern and southern regions amounted to more than 100 square kilometres (40 square miles).

The commander of Ukrainian ground forces, Colonel Oleksandr Syrskyi, said troops were continuing “the defence operation in the Bakhmut sector”, scene of the longest battles of the offensive.

Kyiv’s ambitions to capture more territory further south have been complicated after the destruction of a dam in southern Ukraine last week.

The breach of the Kakhovka dam inundated huge swathes of land under Russian and Ukrainian control, forced thousands to flee and sparked fears of an environmental disaster.

The toll in Russian-controlled territory from the dam breach — which Kyiv and its allies believe was an act of Russian sabotage — has since risen to 17, Moscow-installed officials announced Tuesday.

UN nuclear chief Rafael Grossi meanwhile arrived in Kyiv on Tuesday before travelling to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, a flash point of the conflict.

The dam forms a reservoir that provides the cooling water for the Russian-occupied plant.

“We are still in a relatively dangerous situation and the IAEA is here to prevent something very bad,” Grossi told reporters in Kyiv.

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AFP

Agence France-Presse (AFP) is a French international news agency headquartered in Paris, France. Founded in 1835 as Havas, it is the world's oldest news agency.







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