Ukrainian forces have once again attempted to breach Russian defences in Zaporozhye Region, with Moscow’s military stopping the assault by conducting pre-emptive strikes, Russian Defence Minister Sergey Shoigu said on Thursday.
In a statement, the minister said that the attack took place in the early hours of Thursday and involved forces from the Ukrainian 47th mechanised brigade, with a total strength of up to 1,500 troops and 150 armoured vehicles.
“The enemy was detected by reconnaissance forces in a timely manner, with preventive strikes launched by artillery, aviation and anti-tank weapons,” Shoigu said. He added that Ukrainian forces had been stopped in their tracks in all four directions and “retreated with heavy losses.”
The minister claimed that during a two-hour battle, the enemy had lost 30 tanks, 11 armoured personnel carriers and up to 350 troops, with total Ukrainian personnel losses in the last 24 hours reaching almost 1,000 people.
“In this vein, the enemy’s forces that had been specifically training for this breakthrough failed to deliver on their task,” Shoigu stated.
In recent days, Ukrainian forces have attempted to mount several attacks along the front line, most notably in Donbass. Each assault has failed with heavy losses, according to Russia’s Defense Ministry. On Tuesday, Shoigu said that as a result of three-day clashes, Kiev had lost over 3,700 troops and more than 50 tanks, with Russia’s own losses amounting to 71 dead, 210 wounded and 15 tanks destroyed. However, numerous Ukrainian officials have flatly denied that Kiev has started a major offensive, which has been the subject of intense speculation in recent months.
Citing US sources, the New York Times reported on Monday that while Ukraine had likely started its assault, it was still focused on probing Russian defenses along the front line, with the main thrust poised to become more evident should those efforts prove to be successful.