Russia Reports Heavy Fighting in Zaporizhzhia Region of Ukraine

A view shows road signs in a flooded residential area following the collapse of the Nova Kakhovka Dam in the course of Russia-Ukraine conflict, in the town of Hola Prystan in the Kherson region, Russian-controlled Ukraine, Thursday. (REUTERS/Alexander Ermochenko)

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia reported heavy fighting in the Zaporizhzhia region of southern Ukraine on Friday after saying it had repelled repeated attempts by the Ukrainian army this week to smash through the front line and drive a wedge through Russian forces.

Russia’s top military brass briefed President Vladimir Putin on Thursday that Russia had successfully repelled the attacks, which Moscow says are part of an attempted major counteroffensive by Ukraine since Sunday.

Ukraine has refused to comment on the long-awaited counteroffensive and accused Russia of spreading lies about it. The New York Times quoted three senior U.S. officials as saying that the counteroffensive was underway.

A spokesman for Russia’s Vostok group of forces said 13 Ukrainian tanks were destroyed in battles in the Zaporizhzhia region and eight in the Donetsk region. It reported artillery, drone and infantry battles.

Russian military bloggers said there were intense battles on the Zaporizhzhia front near the city of Orikhiv.

After seeking tens of billions of dollars of Western weapons to fight Russian forces, the success or failure of the counteroffensive is likely to influence the shape of future Western diplomatic and military support for Ukraine.

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