A significant escalation in fighting along the frontlines in the Donetsk and Zaporizhzhia regions has been reported overnight, but there was no confirmation from Ukrainian officials that it marked the started of their long-planned counteroffensive, writes The Guardian.
Russia claimed to have repelled a “major offensive” in the Donetsk region and to have killed hundreds of Ukrainian troops, but the claims could not be independently verified. The defence ministry in Moscow said Ukraine had attacked with 6 mechanised and 2 tank battalions from two brigades.
A Moscow-backed militia leader and Russian military bloggers admitted that Ukrainian forces had achieved a breakthrough in at least one point in south-western Donetsk. Ukrainian officials made no comment, and emphasised the need for secrecy about operations in recent days as anticipation grows for a major counteroffensive.
Russian mercenary leader Yevgeny Prigozhin said on Monday that Ukrainian forces had retaken part of the settlement of Berkhivka, north of Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine, calling it a “disgrace”.
Pavlo Kyrylenko, Ukraine’s governor of Donetsk, said 3 people were killed in the region yesterday as a result of Russian attacks.