A Russian multiple rocket launcher fights back against what Moscow said was a large-scale Ukrainian offensive in the south Donetsk region. Photo courtesy Russian Defense Ministry
June 5 (UPI) — Russian forces repelled a major five-pronged assault in the southern Donetsk region by Ukrainian tank and mechanized battalions killing at least 250 troops and destroying tanks and armored vehicles, the Defense Ministry of Russia said Monday.
The “large-scale offensive” on Sunday involved six mechanized and two tank brigades of the Ukrainian armed forces’ strategic reserves with support from other military units and teams, the ministry said according to Russia’s state-run TASS news agency.
“The adversary’s objective was to break through our defense on the most vulnerable front sector, in its opinion. The enemy failed to perform its tasks and had no success,” said ministry spokesman Lieutenant General Igor Konashenkov.
“As a result of skilled and sophisticated action of the Battlegroup East, the Ukrainian armed forces lost more than 250 persons, sixteen tanks, three mechanized infantry combat vehicles and 21 combat armored vehicles,” Konashenkov added.
However, the claim has yet to be verified and Ukrainian authorities have not commented officially, although they have said that secrecy is paramount while military officials have said that when it does come, the Ukrainian armed forces’ long-awaited Spring offensive will be accompanied by mock attacks and distraction tactics.
“Words are very unnecessary. They can only do harm,” Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov said in a Twitter post.
Reznikov’s comments were accompanied by a video showing Ukrainian ground and air forces prepared for action entitled “Plans love silence” and goes on to say there will be “no announcement of the start [of the offensive].”
President Volodymyr Zelensky said he believed “strongly” that Ukraine would prevail, but could not say how far away into the future that success would be. “To be honest, it can go a variety of ways, completely different. But we are going to do it, and we are ready,” he told the Wall Street Journal.
Meanwhile, a drone attack early Monday set a Russian energy plant on fire, according to authorities in the southern city of Belgorod where dissident armed groups earlier claimed to have captured two Russian soldiers close to the Ukraine border and threatened to hand them over to Ukrainian forces.
The claim was made by the Liberty of Russia Legion in a joint statement with the Russian Volunteer Corps both of which oppose Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and want to unseat President Vladimir Putin.