Chris Lange, FISM News
Ukraine’s General Staff said in its daily update Monday that Russian forces carried out 12 missile and 32 air strikes in Ukraine over the past 24 hours, as well as over 90 rounds of shelling from multiple rocket launchers.
Russia’s Defense Ministry on Monday claimed that its troops “broke the enemy’s resistance” to advance “deeper into its echeloned defense” along the frontlines in Ukraine.
Kyiv’s military said it repelled Russian attacks in several areas, including in the regions of Kharkiv in the northeast, Luhansk in the east, and Zaporizhzhia in the southeast.
Intense fighting continued in and around the eastern city of Bakhmut in the Donetsk Oblast, which has been the center of a months-long battle. It remained in Ukrainian hands Monday, per Reuters, though the city now lies in ruin. The Donetsk region is partially occupied by Russia, and its full capture remains a chief objective of Russian President Vladimir Putin with the war now less than two weeks away from the one-year mark.
Russia’s Wagner Group founder Yevgeny Prigozhin, said on Sunday that the paramilitary force had taken the village of Krasna Hora just north of Bakhmut.
One person was killed and one wounded in Russian shelling in the city of Nikopol in Ukraine’s southeastern Dnipropetrovsk region, according to regional Gov. Serhii Lysak, who said that the shelling damaged four residential buildings, a school, and a water treatment facility.
Russian forces unleashed a barrage of missile strikes on infrastructure facilities in Kharkiv overnight, wounding one, according to Gov. Oleh Syniehubov. Russia’s military said they successfully struck targeted armored vehicle assembly workshops at the Malyshev machinery plant in the city.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on Sunday that power workers had repaired much of the damage to the energy grid caused by Russian missile and drone strikes on Friday, though he warned that Moscow will continue to attack Ukrainian energy.
“We have to realize [that] this is not yet a decisive victory on the energy front. Unfortunately, there may be new terrorist attacks from Russia. There may be new restrictions if there is further destruction or growth in consumption,” he said, referring to forced blackouts caused by Russian attacks that have plagued Ukrainian cities since October.
RUSSIA STRUGGLES TO LAUNCH NEW OFFENSIVE
Russia is widely thought to be planning a major new offensive, one that some Ukrainian military officials said last week was already underway.
A senior Ukrainian military official said on Saturday that, despite its efforts, Moscow is having difficulty mounting a broader offensive.
“They are having big problems with a big offensive,” Oleksiy Danilov, the secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, told Ukrainian television late Saturday. “They have begun their offensive, they’re just not saying they have, and our troops are repelling it very powerfully. The offensive that they planned is already gradually underway. But (it is) not the offensive they were counting on,” Danilov said.
Meanwhile, the Washington D.C.-based Institute for the Study of War appeared to confirm Danilov’s remarks, noting in its Saturday assessment of the conflict that Russia’s pro-Kremlin military bloggers “continue to appear demoralized at the Kremlin’s prospects for executing a major offensive.”
Yevgeny Prigozhin, owner of Russia’s private military contractor Wagner Group, said late last week that it could potentially take another 18 months to two years for Russia to fully take control of the Donbas, The Associated Press reported. Prigozhin even suggested that the war could possibly drag on for an additional three years, should Moscow decide to expand its “special military operation” further into territories east of the Dnieper River.
Meanwhile, NATO defense ministers are set to gather in Brussels on Tuesday to discuss further military aid for Ukraine days after European Union leaders met there for similar talks. Britain’s Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced last week that nothing was “off the table,” in terms of military assistance for Ukraine following Zelenskyy’s whirlwind tour of European capitals that included a stop in London. President Zelenskyy has been unrelenting in pressing Kyiv’s allies to supply its forces with fighter jets and long-range missiles to help it stave off Russian advances and recapture occupied territory.