The Ukrainian army claims to have killed nearly 160 Russian soldiers after launching missile and artillery strikes as part of its massive counteroffensive in southern Ukraine.
Vladyslav Nazarov, spokesman for Ukraine’s Operational Command South (OCS), said on Tuesday that around 159 Russian soldiers had been killed and 60 units of Russian military equipment had been destroyed overnight. More than 220 missile and artillery attacks, on targets including three bridges, were reportedly launched by Ukraine around the same time.
A Facebook post from OCS said the destroyed Russian equipment included five T-72 tanks, three Msta-B howitzers, 5 anti-tank missile systems, an S-300 surface-to-air missile system, an electronic warfare station and a radar station. , a 120 mm mobile mortar system and 40 units of armored and automotive equipment.
The SCO said the situation in southern Ukraine “remains difficult” but is “controlled” by the Ukrainian military. Ukraine has warned that the threat of missile attacks by a Russian fleet stationed in the Black Sea is still “relevant”.
Nazarov said a Russian missile attack on Bashtansky district in Mykolaiv caused no casualties, while artillery strikes on Nikopol district in Dnipropetrovsk damaged residential buildings and injured one civilian.
Various Ukrainian officials reported that Russian shelling of civilian targets in other parts of the country left at least six people dead and 15 injured on Tuesday. A Russian military leader claimed Ukrainian saboteurs were “destroyed” in the Tavrichesky microdistrict in Kherson on Tuesday morning.
The objectives of Ukraine’s counteroffensive include the recapture of Kherson, the largest city to come under Russian control since the invasion began on February 24. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has also suggested the push south could precede an effort to retake Crimea, which Russia annexed in 2014.
On Monday, US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said the counteroffensive revealed shortages of Russian military personnel as the “imminent threat” forced Russia to transfer forces south from the Donbass region of Ukraine.
On the same day, a senior US military official told a Department of Defense (DoD) briefing that the number of Ukrainian soldiers was “much greater” in the south of the country than in the east, in terms of of “equality or parity”. “with the Russian troops.
The US official added that Ukraine’s military leaders “are students of military doctrine” and “understand that carrying out an attack requires a greater number of forces than if you were on defense.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin announced last week that the Russian army would be increased by 137,000 troops, bringing the total number of soldiers to 1.15 million.
A senior US defense official said Putin’s plan was ‘unlikely to succeed’ during Monday’s DoD briefing, adding that ‘Russia has historically failed to meet its personnel and force targets’ and predicted that new recruits would largely be “older, unfit and poorly trained”. .”
Newsweek has contacted the Russian government for comment.