Ukraine launched its long-awaited counter-offensive against Russia on Thursday, officials in Kiev said. It is said that soldiers, using tanks, broke through some defense lines and gained ground around the ruined city of Bakhmut. Wagner boss Yevgeny Prigozhin was worried – and called for new soldiers.
Two Ukrainian officials, including a source close to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, confirmed to ABC News that an active phase of Ukraine’s counter-offensive is underway.
Ukrainian offensive breaks through Putin’s front line
There are also heavy ground attacks by the Ukrainian army on Russian positions. This is also confirmed by the head of Wagner’s mercenary group, Yevgeny Prigozhin, on his Telegram channel: “I think that the events now taking place at the front are the beginning of a counter-offensive by Ukraine.”
Wagner boss asks for 200,000 new soldiers
Prigozhin therefore demands 200,000 soldiers from Moscow to stop the counteroffensive. “Less than 200,000 on the Luhansk-Donetsk frontline will not be enough,” Prigozhin noted. Heavy military attacks were also reported from other front sections.
Well-trained Ukrainian troops have been gathering at strategic locations near the front lines in recent days, Western officials stressed last week. The Institute for War Studies tweeted Monday that “Russian and Ukrainian officials signal the start of the Ukrainian counter-offensive”.
Leopard 2 tanks in action?
According to unofficial (pro-Ukrainian) sources, the southeastern front of the Ukrainians is said to be becoming more active and there are already unconfirmed images and reports that the new modern German-made Leopard 2 tanks are involved in the offensive.
Moscow announces defense against Ukrainian offensive in Zaporizhia
Russian forces said Thursday morning an offensive by the Ukrainian army in southern Ukraine was repelled. At 1:30 a.m. local time, Ukrainian troops with 1,500 soldiers and 150 armored vehicles in the Zaporizhia region tried to “break through our defense lines,” Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said. Over the course of two hours of fighting, the enemy withdrew after suffering heavy casualties. The nuclear power plant of the same name, the largest in Europe, is located in the region. The Russian forces had brought this under their control at the start of their offensive in the spring of 2022.
According to the Donetsk regional government, a Russian attack on the eastern Ukrainian city of Ukrayinsk killed three people, including a four-year-old boy. Five people, including three children, were also injured when the place was shelled overnight, Governor Pavlo Kirilenko said on Telegram. Other parts of the region were also attacked.
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