KRAMATORSK - Ukraine forces said Monday their lightning counter-offensive took back more ground in the past 24 hours, as Russia replied with strikes on some of the recaptured ground.

The territorial shifts were one of Russia’s biggest reversals since its forces were turned back from Kyiv in the earliest days of the nearly seven months of fighting, yet Moscow signalled it was no closer to agreeing a negotiated peace.

“Ukraine has turned the tide in its favour, but the current counter-offensive will not end the war,” US think tank Institute for the Study of War tweeted. Moscow announced air, rocket and artillery attacks on reclaimed areas in the Kharkiv region on Monday, a day after Kyiv said Russian strikes on electricity infrastructure caused power failures. The retaliatory fire came as Ukraine said forces had recaptured more than 20 additional settlements, claiming “Russian troops are hastily abandoning their positions and fleeing”.

Kyiv had already announced the recapture of the strategic city of Izyum in the country’s east, one of a series of victories claimed against Russia’s army.

Ukraine said on Monday its forces recaptured 500 square kilometres (193 square miles) in the southern Kherson region which were in addition to the huge gains in the east over the weekend. Moscow conceded having lost territory, which experts saw as a serious blow to its war ambitions, but Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov saw no prospects for negotiations.

Western arms 

production to ramp up

Western governments are mobilizing their arms manufacturers to ramp up production and replenish stockpiles heavily diminished by supplying Ukraine’s six-month-old battle against Russia’s invasion.

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin announced this week a meeting of senior national armaments directors from allied countries to make long-term plans for supplying Ukraine and rebuilding their own arms reserves.

“They will discuss how our defense industrial bases can best equip Ukraine’s future forces with the capabilities that they need,” he said at a meeting at Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany of the Ukraine Contact Group, 50 countries currently supporting the war effort.

On Friday, the Pentagon’s arms acquisition chief Bill LaPlante said the meeting would take place in Brussels on September 28.

The goal is to determine “how we can continue to work together to ramp up production of key capabilities and resolve supply chain issues and increase interoperability and interchangeability of our systems,” LaPlante told reporters at the Pentagon.

NATO countries do not all have the same weapons, but their arms are compatible.