Russia said its forces thwarted a major Ukrainian offensive in Ukraine’s Donetsk region, killing 250 Ukrainian soldiers and destroying tanks and armored vehicles.
On Monday morning, the Russian Ministry of Defense announced on its Telegram channel, “On the morning of June 4, the enemy launched a large-scale offensive in five sectors of the front in the direction of southern Donetsk.”
There was no news from Ukraine about the alleged attack. In the evening update on June 4, the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine said that Moscow is focusing its military efforts on fully occupying the Luhansk and Donetsk regions.
Donetsk is one of four Ukrainian regions annexed by Russia last September, along with Luhansk, Zaporizhia and Kherson.
She added, “The occupiers launched 23 attacks during the day, but the defense units confronted them all.”
It was not immediately possible to verify the Russian or Ukrainian allegations.
The Russian Defense Ministry said Ukraine launched the attack using six mechanized battalions and two tank battalions.
“The enemy’s goal was to break through our defenses in the most vulnerable, in his opinion, sector of the front,” said the Ministry of Defense. The enemy did not carry out its tasks and did not succeed. »
Ukraine is preparing a counterattack to reclaim the territories occupied by Russia since it began its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, as well as the Crimean peninsula it occupied in 2014.
But it gave mixed signals about what the counterattack would entail – limited initial attacks to weaken Russian military forces and facilities, or a large-scale simultaneous offensive along the 1,100-kilometre (684-mile) frontline.
Russia said its forces killed 250 Ukrainian soldiers and destroyed 16 tanks, three infantry fighting vehicles and 21 armored fighting vehicles.
The ministry added that Russia’s Chief of Staff Valery Gerasimov “was at one of the forward command posts” at the time.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky made no mention of the alleged assault in his Sunday night video address. He said earlier that Kiev was ready to act.
Ukraine has sought in recent weeks to weaken Russia’s positions. Late last month, a senior official said initial operations such as destroying supply lines or blowing up warehouses had already begun.
A drone attack set an energy facility on fire in Russia’s Belgorod region in the early hours of Monday, and the region’s governor Vyacheslav Gladkov reported more raids by teams of pro-Ukrainian, anti-Kremlin volunteers and armed groups affiliated with the Russian Freedom Corps.
The fighters said they had also captured Russian forces and would hand them over to Ukraine.
The Belgorod region, which borders Ukraine, has been bombed frequently in recent weeks.