Russian forces continued to pound Ukrainian cities over the weekend amid a hard-fought dispute over more land in the east of the country. Moscow was having trouble launching its long-awaited large-scale offensive in the region, according to Ukrainian authorities.
One person died and another was injured on Sunday morning in the attacks on Nikopola city in the southeastern Dnipropetrovsk region, according to regional governor Serhii Lysak. The shells damaged four residential buildings, a vocational school and a water treatment plant.
In Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, one person was injured after three Russian S-300 missiles hit infrastructure facilities overnight, regional governor Oleh Syniehubov said.
Ukrainian forces too brake down Saturday night five drones – four Shahed attack aircraft and one Orlan-19 reconnaissance model– over the partially occupied regions of Zaporizhia and Donetsk, according to the Ukrainian army.
Russian forces are trying to claw at more ground in the eastern industrial region of Donbas, made up of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts. Ukrainian and Western forces have warned that Russia could launch a major new offensive there to try to turn the tide of the conflict as the war approaches its one-year anniversary.
However, the Ukrainian authorities said that Moscow was having trouble coming up with the offensive.
“They are having big problems with a big offensive,” Oleksiy Danilov, secretary of the Ukrainian National Security and Defense Council, told Ukrainian television on Saturday night.
They have started their offensive. they just don’t say they did, and our troops are repelling them very forcefully. The offensive they planned is already gradually underway. But (it’s not) the offense they were counting on,” Danilov said.
A US-based think tank said pro-Kremlin military bloggers are also questioning the ability to launch a major offensive in Ukraine. “They continue to appear demoralized by the Kremlin’s chances of executing a major offensive”indicated the Institute for the Study of War in its latest report.
The owner of the Russian private military contractor Wagner Group, which is actively involved in the fighting in Ukraine, said this week the war could rage for years.
In a video interview published on Friday night, Yevgeny Prigozhin said that could take 18 months to two years to secure control of Donbas. He added that the war could drag on for up to three years if Moscow decides to capture more territory east of the Dnieper River.
The statements by Prigozhin, a millionaire close to Russian President Vladimir Putin, and nicknamed “Putin’s chef” for his profitable contracts with the Kremlin, acknowledged the difficulties the Kremlin has encountered in the campaign, which he initially hoped to resolve in a matter of weeks when Russian troops invaded the Ukraine on February 24.
Russia suffered a series of humiliating setbacks in the fall as the Ukrainian military launched successful counteroffensives to retake ground in the east and south.
Prigozhin said on Sunday that Wagner’s fighters have seized the settlement of Krasna Hora, north of Bakhmut, a strategic city around which fighting has focused in recent months.
(with information from AP)
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