KYIV-Ukraine said on Monday it had made gains against Russian forces in the south and clawed back territory near Bakhmut in the east, as it battles to break through Russian defences.
Kyiv launched a counter-offensive against Moscow’s forces in June after stockpiling Western weapons and building up assault battalions, but has struggled to make headway against heavily fortified Russian positions.
“The enemy is on the defensive in the Zaporizhzhia and Kherson sectors,” Deputy Defence Minister Ganna Malyar said, referring to two southern regions that Moscow claimed to annex last year.
She said Ukraine’s forces had made success near the towns of Novodanylivka and Novoprokopivka in the south, and had also captured three square kilometres (around one square mile) near Bakhmut.
“The enemy in the south is suffering significant losses in personnel, weapons and equipment,” she said.
Ukraine has hit back at criticism of the apparent slow pace of its counter-offensive, acknowledging tough battles against Russian defensive lines of trenches and minefields that are kilometres deep. On Sunday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky announced he was replacing Defence Minister Oleksiy Reznikov and called for “new approaches”, a year and a half into Russia’s invasion.
ZELENSKY REPLACES DEFENCE MINISTER, RUSSIAN DRONES HIT UKRAINE PORT
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Monday announced the departure of defence minister Oleksiy Reznikov, calling for “new approaches” a year and a half into Russia’s invasion. The announcement came hours after Ukraine fought off an attack by Russian drones in the southern Odesa region early Sunday that hit a Danube port on the border with NATO member Romania.
“Oleksiy Reznikov has been through more than 550 days of full-scale war,” Zelensky said in his daily evening address.
“I believe that the ministry needs new approaches and other formats of interaction with both the military and society at large.” He nominated Rustem Umerov, a Crimean Tatar who has been head of the State Property Fund since last year, to replace Reznikov -- subject to approval by Ukraine’s parliament.
News of Reznikov’s removal comes with Kyiv’s counteroffensive underway and amid Ukraine’s general push against corruption in response to EU requests.