The Ukrainian military repelled attempts by a Russian offensive in eastern Ukraine and hit critical Russian logistics hubs overnight into Saturday, while Russia continued to bombard cities along a 400-mile front line.
Ukraine has made small but steady gains in the southern region of Kherson, a port city to the south where thousands of Russian soldiers are now largely isolated after Ukrainian strikes on key supply routes.
A senior US Department of Defense official acknowledged these achievements. at the briefing on Friday and said that there was growing evidence that the heavy Russian losses made some units ill-prepared for combat.
The official described Russia’s recent efforts as a failure both on the battlefield and at home, where Moscow’s rhetoric about its ambitions in Ukraine has become more pompous in recent days. Senior Kremlin officials spoke of regime change in Kyiv, and Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev posted a map on his Telegram channel showing Ukraine being swallowed up by Russia and its neighbors.
Although Russian forces have been trying to push deeper into the Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine, Ukrainian and Western officials have said they have not been able to break through Ukraine’s defenses.
“The whole of July, the invaders tried to storm the Donetsk region,” Serhiy Gaidai, head of the military administration of the neighboring Luhansk region, said in a statement. But in contrast to Russian offensives in the spring and early summer, when they could use their significant artillery advantage to level areas ahead of an offensive, Mr Haidai said the Ukrainians’ destruction of Russian munitions depots had “significantly hampered their advance.” resupply weapons and maneuver.”
Nevertheless, according to him, Russian troops continued to “destroy settlements using cannon and rocket artillery.” At least six civilians were killed and 15 others injured in Russian shelling in the Donetsk region on Friday, local Ukrainian authorities said.
On the southern front, at least one civilian was killed in the port city of Nikolaev when a Russian rocket hit a high-rise building at night, according to local governor Vitaly Kim.
Residents of Nikopol, a city located across the Dnieper River from Russian-controlled territory around the Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant, endured another night of heavy shelling. More than a dozen residences were damaged in the attack, causing widespread power outages, local authorities said.
The Ukrainians accused the Russians of using the nuclear power plant as a military base, assuming that the Ukrainians would not shoot at it given the risks involved. But Ukrainian officials said on Saturday that their country’s military had carried out strikes against Russian positions in the city of Energodar, where the plant is located.
“It was very hot in Energodar, literally,” says the exiled mayor of the city Dmitry Orlov. said in a statement. According to him, three units of Russian military equipment parked at the entrance to a local hotel were destroyed.
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While the Russians worked to repair the vital bridge across the Dnieper River south of the city of Kherson, the Ukrainians said it remained impassable and that Russian forces based on the river’s west bank were largely isolated from resupply and support.