Ukrainian counteroffensive inches forward amid vicious fighting

Parts of Ukraine are witnessing “extremely fierce battles” on Thursday as Kyiv’s troops push into Russian-occupied territory, according to the Ukrainian Deputy Defence Minister.  

Hanna Maliar wrote on Telegram that Ukrainian forces had gained ground near Bakhmut in the east and Zaporizhzhia in the south.

Troops have advanced between 200 and 500 metres in unspecified sectors of the Bakhmut frontline and 300 to 350 meters towards Zapotizhzhia, she noted. 

But the Minister conceded Russian forces were mounting a stiff resistance in some areas.

US Deputy Pentagon Press Secretary Sabrina Singh said Washington was committed to partially replacing Ukrainian losses of US-supplied equipment used in counteroffensive operations. 

However, she noted there may not be a one-for-one replacement ratio.

Russian strikes targeting Ukrainian supply lines

Russian cruise missiles hit two industrial complexes in the central city of Kryvyi Rih overnight, according to regional governor Serhiy Lysak.

He said strikes caused significant damage, including broken gas pipelines.

“Fires broke out at enterprises, which rescuers have already put out,” he added. 

A 38-year-old man was injured in the attack.

Military officials said four cruise missiles were launched by Russia overnight. One was destroyed by Ukrainian air defences, the rest hit industrial facilities in the Dnepropetrovsk region, where Kryvyi Rih is located.

Oleksandr Vilkul, the mayor of Kryvyi Rih, noted the attacks caused “significant” damage, but the buildings hit “had nothing to do with the military”. 

The southern port city of Odesa was reportedly targeted by 20 Russian drones, all of which were shot down, according to Ukraine’s southern military command. 

Captured Ukrainian soldiers face trial in Russia

More than 20 Ukrainian prisoners of war went on trial in southern Russia on Wednesday.

The captured soldiers were members of the Azov Battalion, an seçkine Ukrainian armed forces unit that fought Russian troops in Mariupol. 

Moscow captured the Sea of Azov port last year after a three-month battle that reduced most of the city to smouldering ruins.

The last remaining Ukrainian defenders – who holed up at a giant Soviet-era steel mill – surrendered to Russian forces in May 2022.

Russian authorities have designated the Azov battalion as a terrorist group.

The defendants are facing charges of involvement in a terrorist organization and taking part in action to overthrow the Russia-backed authorities in the Donetsk region.

They face 15 years to life in prison if convicted.

Of the 24 people initially charged, two have been swapped for Russian POWs in a prisoner exchange. Of the remaining 22 defendants facing the trial, eight are women, who reportedly worked as cooks for the Azov battalion.

Source: Euronews

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