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Ukraine attacks front lines; Russia says heavy losses | Russia-Ukraine war news

Ukraine said it had regained about 100 square kilometers (40 square miles) of territory during the 68th week of the Russian invasion, as a long-planned counterattack gained momentum.

But Russian President Vladimir Putin said Ukraine was suffering “catastrophic” losses, with Kiev suffering 10 times as many casualties as Moscow.

“All counteroffensive attempts so far have failed, but the offensive potential of the Kiev regime’s troops remains,” Putin said.

The counteroffensive is still in its early stages, said former commander Demetries Andrew Grimes, who retrained Ukrainian troops for two years between 2015 and 2017.

“What we’re seeing now is just [Russian] From small arms and rockets to drones and artillery, harassing the front lines of fire,” Grimes told Al Jazeera.

“The purpose of this is to expand the opposition to weaken their power … they are prolonging the conflict zone and forcing the Russians to expose their supply lines so that they can be disrupted and [Ukrainian forces] Smaller groups can be surrounded. “

Ukraine stepped up its attacks across much of the 1,200-kilometer (745-mile) front. The Russian Defense Ministry said it repelled four Ukrainian ground attacks on June 9 in the Kremina region of the East Donetsk region.

Further south, Ukrainian forces advanced 1,200 meters (3,940 feet) around Bakhmut on June 9 and another 1,400 meters (4,600 feet) the next day, Eastern Forces spokesman Serhiy Cherevatyi said. Russian military sources confirmed the developments.

On June 9, Ukrainian troops also opened a new front where Donetsk meets the Zaporozhye region.

The Russian Ministry of Defense said the initial attack was repelled, but two days later the Washington-based Institute for War Studies (ISW) said that “geolocation footage and Russian sources indicate that Ukrainian forces liberated multiple settlements… [near] Velyka Novosilka in the western Donetsk Oblast”.

It was here that Ukraine gained most of its territory – 90 square kilometers (35 square miles) – said Deputy Defense Minister Hannah Mallyar.

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bold attack

Perhaps the most daring of the counter-offensives took place south of Orishiv in western Zaporozhye, where the Russian lines were notoriously heavily fortified.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said a force of 1,500 Ukrainian soldiers and 150 armored vehicles attempted to break through Russian lines at night on June 8.

“A preventive strike was carried out by artillery, aviation and anti-tank weapons. In all four directions, the enemy was stopped,” the Russian Ministry of Defense said, reporting the loss of 30 tanks and 350 soldiers for Ukraine.

According to Russian military journalists, there was a “high-intensity battle” in which “the enemy continued to fire from artillery and tanks”.

Reporters said the Ukrainian offensive had achieved initial success. “The second wave at 5 a.m. led the enemy to a small success and occupied a high ground,” said one.

“Under strong pressure, the soldiers of the heroic company of the 291st regiment of our army withdrew from the front line of the trench to the reserve position. The enemy used various weapons to attack these trenches continuously three hours before the attack,” they reported, but “the 291st regiment repelled All enemy attacks return [to] All positions. “

Russian military reporters said that on June 12, the Russian army launched a counterattack on this front.

The Ukrainian General Staff reported high Russian casualties—1,000 on 8 June and 900 on 10 June.

Al Jazeera could not independently verify the claims.

Ukrainian soldiers ride in military vehicles near the front line near the newly liberated village of Neskuchnye in the Donetsk region during the Russian attack on Ukraine
Ukrainian soldiers ride in a car near the newly liberated Neskuchne village, Donetsk region, Ukraine [Oleksandr Ratushniak/Reuters]

transition to conventional warfare

Ukraine garnered media attention for deftly destroying thousands of Russian heavy vehicles throughout the war. Orikhiv offensive brings rare negative publicity and a separate probe The situation south of Mala Tokmachka is also bad.

Defense journalist Thomas Theiner pointed out that Mala Tokmachka’s column lacked air support and was easy to spot. “At least three Russian drones and a helicopter flew over the Ukrainians and let in Russian artillery,” he tweeted.

These are lessons the military is relearning to fight conventional mechanized warfare after years of successfully using guerrilla tactics, Grimes said.

After Russia invaded Donbass and annexed Crimea in 2014, “the Ukrainians realized they might not have the resources needed to rebuild their army, navy, and air force and immediately set about building their special operations, counterinsurgency, and training resistance,” Grimes said.

“Navies are almost transformed into maritime and coastal defense forces, and their Army and other forces are basically transformed into special operations and asymmetric warfare.”

Ukrainian soldiers stand in front of a building with a Ukrainian flag during an operation that claims to liberate the first village in the counteroffensive, known as Blahodatne
Ukrainian soldiers stand in front of a building in Blahodatne, Donetsk [68th Separate Hunting Brigade ‘Oleksy Dovbusha’/Handout via Reuters]

In addition to these actions by the Ukrainian army, the country’s NATO allies have provided more than 250 tanks and thousands of armored vehicles and retrained nine brigades for heavy fighting.

“When you transition to conventional warfare, you lose some asymmetric advantages,” Grimes said. “With the capabilities of larger military hardware, you … have to put power into defending those assets. It makes you less nimble,” he said.

“A Ukrainian counteroffensive would likely consist of many operations of varying sizes … and the smaller operations would not represent the maximum capabilities of Ukraine in numbers or effectiveness,” the Institute for War Research said.

The ISW said Ukraine had prepared 12 offensive brigades and had only committed “a fraction of the large reserves available” to Sizaporozhia.

Russia benefits from dam failure

The only region in Ukraine that was not attacked was Kherson, which was flooded after the destruction of the Nova Kakhovska dam on June 6.

More than 14 cubic kilometers of water, almost three-quarters of the Nova Kakhovska dam’s reservoir, has overflowed, flooding 600 square kilometers (232 square miles) of land in Kherson, Ukraine’s environment ministry said.

With Russia and Ukraine blaming each other for blowing up the dam, it is unclear which side is targeting the dam.

“The battle was intense”

Ukraine’s Deputy Defense Minister Oleksandr Pavlyuk said it was a defensive tactic.

“I think the enemy wanted to secure their left flank. After blowing up the dam, they created a barrier that prevented us from attacking from this side,” he said.

Grimes said Russian troops learned the tactic from Ukrainian troops defending Kiev in the early weeks of the war.

“The Ukrainians on the outskirts of Kiev flooded a lot of fields with water so they could force the Russians’ heavy armor and trucks to maneuver on higher and firmer ground and target them more effectively,” he said.

Natalia Khumenyuk, a spokeswoman for Ukraine’s southern forces, said the floods forced Russian troops to retreat 5 kilometers to 15 kilometers (3 to 9 miles) from their forward positions, leaving behind their equipment. As a result, Russian shelling was almost halved.

Floods have washed away minefields and landmines have been found in the Black Sea.

Russian troops also abandoned the Dnieper Delta.

Despite the setback in Kherson, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said he was satisfied with progress elsewhere.

“The battle is fierce, but we are moving forward, which is very important. The enemy’s losses are exactly what we need,” Zelensky said in a video speech.

An image shows homes severely damaged by Russian missile strikes amid Russia's attack on Ukraine
View shows Ukraine home badly damaged in Russian missile attack [Donetsk Regional Military-Civil Administration/Reuters]

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