According to the Russian military ministry, it has stopped a significant Ukrainian attack in Donetsk, killing 250 soldiers and destroying armoured vehicles.
In a rare early-morning video, the ministry claimed that Russian troops had successfully repelled a “large scale” Ukrainian attack on Sunday at five different locations in southern Donetsk, one of the four Ukrainian territories that Russia unlawfully invaded last autumn.
However, Kyiv has not responded, and it has not been possible to independently verify Russia’s assertion. The long-awaited Ukrainian counter-offensive will not be announced in advance, according to Kyiv. It is too soon to judge if this claimed onslaught marks the beginning of Kyiv’s eagerly anticipated counter punch.
The governor of Russia’s Kaluga region, which is south of the Moscow area, said on Monday that two drones that crashed on a roadway did not explode any bombs. For two days of negotiations with the Ukrainian government, Italian cardinal Matteo Zuppi has flown to Kyiv as part of a Vaitcan peace mission.
Igor Konashenkov, the ministry’s spokesperson, stated that the enemy’s intention was to breach our defences in the frontal area it considered to be the most susceptible.
According to him, ““The enemy’s goal was to break through our defenses in the most vulnerable, in its opinion, sector of the front. The enemy did not achieve its tasks. It had no success.”
The Ukrainian government has been discussing for months regarding launching a spring attack to retake areas that Russia has controlled since its invasion on February 24, 2022, as well as the Crimean Peninsula.
However, they have sent conflicting messages about what would constitute a counter-offensive, including whether it would consist of limited, preparatory operations to degrade Russian military capabilities or a full-fledged simultaneous assault along the 1,100-kilometer (684-mile) front line.
The timing of the counter-offensive was influenced by at least two factors: the introduction of more sophisticated Western weaponry and the training of Ukrainian forces to employ them, as well as the anticipation of improved terrain conditions for troop and equipment mobility following the winter.
A video purporting to show the destruction of part of the equipment in a field was published by the Ukrainian military, according to a spokesperson for the Russian Defence Ministry. Ukraine utilised six mechanised and two tank battalions in the offensive.
The head of the Russian Armed Forces’ General Staff, Gen. Valery Gerasimov, “was at one of the forward command posts,” the spokesperson added, making a rare explicit reference of the involvement of Russia’s highest military officials in battlefield operations.
Gerasimov’s direct participation may have been announced in response to criticism from some Russian military bloggers and Yevgeny Prigozhin, the leader of a mercenary group, that the Russian military brass hasn’t been visible enough at the front or assumed enough control or responsibility for their nation’s military operations in Ukraine.