Russia and Ukraine Report Fierce Battles Along Front Lines

This photo taken from video released by Russian Defense Ministry Press Service on Monday, June 5, 2023 shows a Russian self-propelled gun firing towards Ukrainian positions at an undisclosed location. (Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP)

(Bloomberg News/TNS) — Russia and Ukraine reported widespread fighting along the war’s front lines as anticipation mounts for a long-planned Ukrainian counteroffensive.

The Defense Ministry in Moscow said its forces defeated a large-scale Ukrainian attack in the Donetsk region on Sunday involving tanks and mechanized battalions. “The enemy did not achieve its objectives, it had no success,” the ministry said in a statement early Monday.

While Ukraine made no comment on the Russian claims, its General Staff reported “combat engagements” during the past day including fierce fighting near the Donetsk region town of Maryinka. Ukrainian troops repelled all Russian attacks and “the enemy continues to concentrate its main efforts on attempts to fully occupy Luhansk and Donetsk regions,” it said on social media.

The war that’s now in its 16th month is entering a potentially decisive phase as Ukraine masses forces for its push to reclaim Russian-occupied regions of the country’s south and east, backed by billions in weapons supplied by Kyiv’s US and European allies.

The commander of Ukraine’s ground forces said its troops were advancing in the area around the eastern city of Bakhmut, which was the focus of months of intense combat, after an assault on Russian positions.

Russia continued its campaign of air strikes against Ukraine, firing six cruise missiles and eight Shahed drones, the General Staff in Kyiv said. Air defenses downed four missiles and six drones, it said.

Meanwhile, Russia’s Defense Ministry said naval tactical groups began “operational exercises” in the Baltic Sea on Monday through June 15. Some 40 warships, naval vessels and support boats are involved as well as more than 3,500 personnel and 25 aircraft and helicopters, it said on social media.

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