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Ukrainian troops have been forced to retreat from several settlements in the eastern Donetsk region this year Image: AFP
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Russia reports battlefield gains ahead of Ukraine summit

25 Comments
By Victoria LUKOVENKO and Léa DAUPLE

Russia on Monday claimed the capture of another village in Ukraine's eastern Donetsk region, the latest in a string of gains ahead of a major Ukraine summit in Switzerland.

Dozens of world leaders and top diplomats are to convene for a meeting at the weekend that President Volodymyr Zelenskyy hopes will rally global support behind Kyiv as it struggles more than two years into Russia's invasion.

Zelenskyy has ruled out direct talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin and is keen to win over more non-Western countries, including those who maintain close ties with Moscow.

After almost a year of stalemate, Ukraine has been forced to abandon dozens of front-line settlements this spring, with Russian troops holding a significant advantage in manpower and resources.

Russia's defense ministry said Monday that its forces "continued to advance into the depths of the enemy's defense and liberated the settlement of Staromaiorske", located southwest of the Russian-held city of Donetsk.

The loss of the village is a symbolic blow to Kyiv, as it is one of the few Ukraine managed to recapture last year in a largely lackluster counteroffensive.

Staromaiorske is on the southern front of the Donetsk region, one of the four regions Moscow claimed to have annexed in 2022 and where some of the fiercest fighting is now taking place.

Putin told an economic forum last week that Russia had seized 47 Ukrainian towns and villages so far this year.

That includes gains in the northeastern Kharkiv region where Moscow launched a major ground assault last month, causing thousands of Ukrainians to evacuate and further stretching Kyiv's forces.

U.S. President Joe Biden's national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, said Sunday that Russia's advance on the Kharkiv border region had "stalled out" after Washington partially lifted restrictions on using U.S.-donated weapons to strike inside Russia.

In a diplomatic setback for Kyiv, Biden confirmed last week that he would not be attending the June 15-16 summit at the Burgenstock Resort, which overlooks Lake Lucerne in central Switzerland.

Vice President Kamala Harris will instead represent Ukraine's most important military and financial backer.

Zelenskyy had also hoped to secure high-level attendance from some of Moscow's allies, principally China.

Beijing has criticized the gathering and said it would be "difficult" to attend without Russia's participation.

The Swiss presidency said Monday that 90 countries had confirmed their attendance at the summit, which would follow a G7 summit in Italy.

The initiative is unlikely to produce a significant breakthrough, but Ukraine hopes it will build international support for its position that Russia should not be able to crystallize territorial gains through its invasion.

The gathering will also allow Kyiv to lobby for more military, financial and diplomatic aid.

The Kremlin has blasted any talks about the conflict without its participation as "absurd".

On the battlefield, Russia has now shifted its focus to two strategic towns in the Donetsk region, Ukrainian soldiers fighting there told AFP at the weekend.

"The fiercest fighting is taking place in this area: Pokrovsk and Chasiv Yar. This is the sector they really want. This is their obsession," said Oleksandr, a 36-year-old tank сrew member.

Russian forces have been attacking the hilltop town of Chasiv Yar for months.

Its capture would be a strategic blow to Ukraine and could leave it vulnerable to further Russian advances.

Another Ukrainian soldier, Danylo Madiar, 33, said it "had become very difficult to hold this front line" with many losses.

Zelensky said Monday that the situation in the Donetsk region was "the most difficult" across the entire front line.

Russia also continued a campaign of aerial attacks on Kharkiv city, Ukraine's second largest, on Monday with a strike that injured at least seven people, officials said.

"There were three attacks on the city with guided aerial bombs," Mayor Igor Terekhov said in a post on Telegram.

Earlier in the day one person was reported killed and two wounded by Russian fire on the village of Dergachi, to the northwest of the city.

Ukrainian forces separately claimed to have struck an advanced Russian air defense system overnight on the Crimean peninsula, which Moscow annexed in 2014.

The general staff said Ukraine had hit an S-400 air defense system near the town of Dzhankoy and also targeted two S-300 systems near Chornomorske and Yevpatoriya.

There was no immediate comment from Moscow on the alleged strikes and AFP could not independently verify the claims.

Seven people were also injured in Russia's Belgorod border region, four after a mine blast and three by a Ukrainian aerial attack, the governor said.

© 2024 AFP

©2024 GPlusMedia Inc.


25 Comments

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It's a long way to Kharkiv/Kyiv. The conference attendees should get together behind a resolution that there should be no territorial gains by Russia.

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

Send more lethal arms to Ukraine!

5 ( +11 / -6 )

Send more lethal arms to Ukraine!

It is manpower they are short of. Recruitment has ground to a halt, more Ukrainians are trying to leave the country rather than join a fight they now realize is futile. NATO will not be putting boots across the border making this a "when" not "if" defeat for Ukraine/NATO.

How many more Ukrainians do you want to die? Is the question they need to ask at the pointless propaganda summit.

-10 ( +5 / -15 )

How many more Ukrainians do you want to die?

More than 5 million Ukrainians lost their lives in WWII. They have a pretty high tolerance for losses against invaders. This current invasion by Russia, while bloody, no doubt, is a drop in the bucket.

The real question we should be asking is whether Russia is prepared to kill 5 million or more Ukrainians.

I don’t think they are.

3 ( +10 / -7 )

As far as nations go, Ukrainians are probably one of the last you would pick to surrender to fascist invaders. Russia chose poorly :)

4 ( +9 / -5 )

Not going to end well for Ukraine, you can’t beat fate.

-9 ( +5 / -14 )

bass4funkToday 07:40 am JST

Not going to end well for Ukraine, you can’t beat fate.

Oh well, with that clear reasoning, Ukraine should surrender tomorrow.

2 ( +8 / -6 )

Mr KiplingToday 06:57 am JST

How many more Ukrainians do you want to die? Is the question they need to ask at the pointless propaganda summit.

Some of your compatriots believe Ukraine will be left with the Lviv area when the terrorists are through. That makes clear the question is how much land do you want Ukraine to give up?

2 ( +7 / -5 )

U,how many Ukrainain are you willing to sacrifice for the loss cause,and instead negotiate some kind of peace deal

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

Gains are confirmed, if a little behind unfolding events. Russian steamroller rolls on; and it's slow and steady which will prevail in this race. And that crucial loss-exchange-ratio that will determine the victor here.

Sullivan, quoted in this article, has a very poor interpretation of the actions of group North. Important to keep in mind he is the same guy who wrote an essay about how peaceful the middle east was in early October last year, patting himself and Biden administration on the back. Flat wrong then; how wrong he is now. That front is a search and destroy operation targeting the UAF.

The clearing of Donetsk and Chasiv Yar: it opens the door to the downward western slope which leads to the smaller cities of Kostiantynivka and Druzhkivka. This is another door and leads to the larger prize and the provincial cities of Slovyansk and Kramatorsk - the last two that Kyiv controls in Donetsk and will herald the effective end of regime control in the oblast. From then the Donbass operation will be a mopping up exercise. Of course, that is a little down the track and for the upcoming summer/fall/winter campaign seasons. But first things first - RFAF have taken the eastern part of Chasiv Yar.

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

The loss of the village is a symbolic blow to Kyiv

there is is again, “symbolic”

-5 ( +5 / -10 )

It’s a symbol all right. A symbol that Ukraine keeps losing.

-6 ( +4 / -10 )

Has not been announced by RMOD or the media yet. But it is looking fairly certain RFAF have started the operation in the Sumy region.

The settlement of Ryzhivka was taken by Akhmat special forces units (combined Chechen) and there's a fluid situation there with things happening. More to come on this later.

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

Russia on Monday claimed

It can be stated with confidence that everything after this phrase is at best an exaggeration and more likely a lie.

The Russians “neglect” to mention the cost in lives and material. I’m sure that’s just an innocent oversight…

Give the UA the weapons and the ammo and it will win this “special military operation”, now in the 3rd year of a 3-day operation.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

Believe what you will. Geolocation of videos provides a certain level of confirmation. Fact western media are reporting it indicates Ukraine-friendly websites are reporting it and/or changing the color of the battle front map there; and not just the RMOD. Secondly, all of the claimed advances have turned out to be true.

Zelensky's office released a statement a few hours ago denying the Sumy operation but the available evidence suggests it's well underway (which highlights the previous point about confirmation).

Appears small scale at this stage but underestimate the Akhmat group at your peril and there are plenty of reserves built up. And targets are being struck NW/N/NE of Sumy city. Speculation a push on the H07 highway could start.

This will really rattle the cage the Kyiv regime forces increasingly find themselves in and stretch them again.

-5 ( +4 / -9 )

The real question we should be asking is whether Russia is prepared to kill 5 million or more Ukrainians.

I don’t think they are.

I agree. Russia seems to be trying to minimize civilian casualties (as a quick comparison with the numbers IDF kills in Gaza shows )

0 ( +6 / -6 )

Its capture would be a strategic blow to Ukraine and could leave it vulnerable to further Russian advances.

Past examples show that once Chasiv Yar (or whats left of it ) is captured by the Russians, its status will change to " insignificant town with no strategic value " in NAFO narrative.

Time for ceasefire.

-3 ( +5 / -8 )

U,how many Ukrainain are you willing to sacrifice for the loss cause,and instead negotiate some kind of peace deal

I am not willing to sacrifice any, but I am willing to get them the help they need to push back on the fascist invaders.

See my earlier post. The Ukrainians seem to have a great capacity for loss when it comes to resisting fascist invaders. You guys aren’t going to beat the Ukrainians.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

you can’t beat fate.

That same hand of fate is doing an awesome job guiding our ATACMS and HIMARS to Russian S-300 and S-400s. Russian AD has been exposed as absolute garbage.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

there is is again, “symbolic”

Staromaiorske:

Population (pre-war): 839

Industries: None

Traffic lights: None

Restuarants: None

Largest building: 2 story schoolhouse

Description: a loose collection of farmhouses surrounded by farmland.

What it looked like in its entirety on Google Maps before the war (nothing is left of it now):

https://www.google.com/maps/@47.7513973,36.7954638,1570m/data=!3m1!1e3?entry=ttu

How long it took Russia to capture it: 2 years, 4 months. Though it has changed hands a couple of times.

Russian casualties incurred to capture the strategic, definitely definitely not merely symbolic objective of Staromajorske: approximately half a million.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

RK - Do you see the Russians conquering Chasiv Yar (or what’s left of) it by the end of the year?

I did at one point, but not as certain now.

What say you on Chasiv Yar?

0 ( +4 / -4 )

RK - Do you see the Russians conquering Chasiv Yar (or what’s left of) it by the end of the year?

You'll probably have to specify which year for him.

At Russia's current pace they should capture part of the outskirst in about the end of 2045-ish.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

U,Ukrainain never live free,so do not pretend they ever had

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

U,Ukrainain never live free,so do not pretend they ever had

It’s up to Ukraine how they want to live you see.

Under Russia? No way Pedro etc.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

It can be stated with confidence that everything after this phrase is at best an exaggeration and more likely a lie.

It can be stated with confidence that the above applies best to our NAFO friends expert analysis which is based on their "reliable" western sources. Unless of course one still believes the alternate reality reports of the shovel equipped Russki convict rabble retreating in the face of the game changer led onslaught as we speak. In which case any reports of Russian gains are of course pure fantasy.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

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