According to Ukrainian officials, Russia is losing a “staggering” 900 soldiers every day. They are pleading with the West to approve the delivery of fighter jets for their counteroffensive at a Nato meeting this week.
Hanna Maliar, Ukraine’s deputy defense minister, reported on Tuesday that Ukrainian forces had retaken seven villages and opened up 90 sq km of territory in the previous week alone, giving hope that the long-awaited counteroffensive was progressing.
She did note that the Russian forces had better air support and were pelting their troops with heavy artillery fire, making the assault difficult.
The Independent was informed by Yuriy Sak, a significant counselor to the defense ministry, that despite Kyiv’s “heavy” losses to Moscow’s forces, they urgently required the supply of fighter jets to maintain the momentum. The decision, according to Mr. Sak, should be pushed through at a NATO defense ministers conference scheduled for Thursday in Brussels.
“During the last week, the losses against the Russians have been staggering: on average 900 soldiers have been killed a day by the Ukrainian army,” he said.
“But this is not an easy battle,” he added. “The Russians continue to have command of the air, they have air superiority along the frontline lines”.
He claimed that Ukraine had an urgent need for fourth-generation aircraft like F16s, a topic that was anticipated to be at the top of the cabinet meeting’s agenda in the capital of Belgium.
“Had we had F16s by now the situation would have been different,” Mr Sak added.
“We hope that watching how the counteroffensive develops is another important argument in favour of speeding up the process of creating this fighter jet coalition.”
No Ukrainian victories have been acknowledged by Russia, which instead claimed that it had effectively repulsed attempts to seize Donetsk area’s eastern portion.
Tuesday, President Vladimir Putin asserted that Ukrainian fatalities were ten times greater than those suffered by Russian troops in a televised discussion with military bloggers. He added that although the objectives of Moscow’s invasion might alter in response to the circumstances, their core nature would not.
Although it has widely publicized its long-awaited counteroffensive and even released a cinematic trailer with video from the front lines, Ukraine has remained mum on the specifics of the operation.
As the camera zoomed in and the caption read, “Plans love silence,” the Ministry of Defence this week broadcast a cryptic 30-second video showing the nation’s spymaster Kyrylo Budanov sitting quietly behind his desk.
The onslaught is just getting started; tens of thousands of new Ukrainian soldiers as well as hundreds of Western armoured vehicles have not yet joined the fray. But Kyiv has already asserted that considerable progress has been made.
In the meantime, Russia has increased its missile attacks on cities. It struck Kryvyi Rih, the hometown of Volodymyr Zelensky, on Tuesday and killed at least 11 people inside an apartment complex and a warehouse. More than a dozen additional people were reportedly injured. “More terrorist missiles,” Mr. Zelensky remarked on Telegram. “Russian killers are still at war with residential structures, regular cities, and people.”
Additionally, air raid alarms were heard throughout the entire country of Ukraine. According to military sources in Kiev, air defence forces shot down all Russian missiles aimed towards the city.
While Kyiv conducts counteroffensive operations, Russia has also accused Ukraine of firing cross-border shells onto Russian territory.
Additionally, it posted video footage of what it claimed to be US- and German-made Bradley Fighting Vehicles and Leopard tanks that had been captured in combat.
Russia has been accused by Ukraine of detonating a significant dam in the southern Kherson region this month, releasing one of Europe’s largest reservoirs over the region.
Russia has refuted the charges and asserted that Kyiv destroyed its own dam.
Mr. Sak described the dam explosion as a “terrorist attack” and a “war crime,” adding that it was done to “slow down or thwart” counteroffensive operations.
“We had made contingency plans … It has not had a considerable impact on our military plans,” he said.