Russia says its forces battled stalled Ukrainian troops in the south of the country and inflicted “heavy casualties” on them.
Russian soldiers held their positions in “hard fighting” in the Kherson region and Ukrainian troops were also targeted in the eastern region of Donetsk, the Russian Defense Ministry said on Sunday.
“The enemy tried to break through the defense of Russian troops in the Koshara and Pyatykhatky areas of the Kherson region with forces of up to three battalions, including a tank battalion,” the ministry spokesman said. Defense, Igor Konashenkov.
“Russian army units held their positions in fierce battles, inflicting heavy losses on the enemy,” he said.
Al Jazeera could not independently verify the battlefield reports.
Ukraine’s presidential office said Moscow’s army shelled towns and villages along the eastern front line and “active hostilities” continued in the Kherson region.
Ukrainian military spokesman Oleksandr Shtupun said the Russians had started the evacuation of “state institutions” from the Kherson region to Crimea. Shtupun said the Ukrainian military carried out 20 attacks over the past day.
Russian forces targeted more than 30 towns and villages across Ukraine, launching five missiles and 23 airstrikes and up to 60 rocket attacks, the Ukrainian Armed Forces General Staff said.
Fighting was particularly intense in the eastern provinces of Donetsk and Lugansk and in the strategically important province of Kherson. These were three of the four provinces Russian President Vladimir Putin declared part of Russia last month.
Konashenkov acknowledged that Russia attacked Ukrainian regions on Sunday.
“Over the past 24 hours, the Russian armed forces have continued to strike with high-precision and long-range aerial weapons on military command and control facilities as well as on Ukraine’s energy system,” the statement said. Konashenkov. “The objectives of the strikes have been achieved. All assigned targets were achieved.
Shelling by Ukrainian forces damaged the administrative building in the city of Donetsk, capital of the Donetsk region, the head of its Russian-backed administration said on Sunday.
“It was a direct hit. The building is badly damaged. It’s a miracle no one was killed,” Alexey Kulemzin said as he surveyed the wreckage.
There was no immediate reaction from Ukraine to the attack on the city of Donetsk, which was annexed by Russian-backed separatists in 2014 along with much of Lugansk and Donetsk regions.
Battle for Bakhmut
The momentum of the war has shifted to Ukraine after a series of counterattacks were launched seven weeks ago. His army retook cities, towns, and villages that Russia had taken at the start of the war.
As Russia retreats across much of Ukraine, in the eastern town of Bakhmut in Donetsk, Ukrainian troops are on the defensive.
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on Sunday that fighting was raging in the region.
“The main hotspots in Donbass are Soledar and Bakhmut,” Zelenskyy said in his nightly video address. “Very heavy fighting is going on there.”
Ukrainian soldiers still control the northern and western parts of the city. Pro-Russian separatist forces advanced east and south of Bakhmut, relying on their base in the city of Donetsk, 100 km (62 miles) away.
Russian forces have repeatedly tried to seize Bakhmut, which is on a main road leading to the cities of Sloviansk and Kramatorsk, both in the Donetsk region.
Although Ukrainian troops recaptured thousands of square kilometers of land in their recent counter-offensives in the east and south, officials said progress is expected to slow once Kyiv forces encounter stronger Russian resistance. determined.
In Ukraine’s Kharkiv region, Russia said it destroyed three American-made howitzers and a crossing point on the Oskil River set up by Ukrainian forces to move supplies and ammunition. The river flows south into the Siversky Donets, which meanders through the Donbass region in eastern Ukraine.
Spokeswoman for Ukraine’s Southern Military Command said Russian forces were suffering from severe shortages of equipment, including ammunition, due to damage inflicted last weekend by an explosion on a bridge connecting the peninsula from Russian-occupied Crimea to Russia.
“Nearly 75% [of Russian military supplies in southern Ukraine] crossed that bridge,” Natalia Humeniuk told Ukrainian television, adding that high winds had also stopped ferries in the area.
“Now even the sea is on our side,” she said.
Organize ground strikes
Zelenskyy’s chief of staff, Andriy Yermak, said on Telegram on Sunday that Ukraine would prevail in the war because of the continued military aid it receives from the West and the cumulative impact Western sanctions on the Russian economy.
“Ukraine’s offensive is strategic and Russia’s defeat is inevitable,” Yermak said.
Meanwhile, in western Russia along the border with Ukraine, Russian officials said their air defenses shot down “a minimum” of 16 Ukrainian missiles in the Belgorod region, Ria reported. Novosti of Russia. Regional Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov said four people were injured.
Russian authorities in border regions have repeatedly accused Kyiv of firing on their territory and said civilians were injured. Ukraine has not claimed responsibility for the alleged attacks or commented.
Russia has long used Belgorod as a staging ground for bombing and missile attacks on Ukrainian territory.
On Saturday, two men from a former Soviet republic who were training at a Russian military firing range in Belgorod opened fire on volunteer soldiers during gunnery training, killing 11 people and wounding 15 before being themselves slaughtered.
The Russian Defense Ministry, which reported the killings, called the incident a terrorist attack.