Russia has likely suffered an average of 824 casualties a day in the Ukraine conflict in the past two weeks, Britain’s Ministry of Defence has said.
This is the highest rate of casualties since Vladimir Putin ordered his troops to invade Ukraine on 24 February last year and four times the rate reported over the June-July period.
Earlier, Russian mercenary group Wagner said it had taken control of a village near the key city of Bakhmut in Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk Oblast region.
Yevgeny Prigozhin, the group’s founder, said his troops had taken the village of Krasna Hora on the northern edge of embattled Bakhmut, which has seen intense fighting in recent months. However, his claims have not been independently verified.
Kyiv’s top military commander, Valeriy Zaluzhnyi, claimed on Saturday that Ukraine still holds Bakhmut and was trying to “stabilise” the front line around it.
It comes as Russian forces have continued to shell Ukrainian cities as part of a push to seize more land in the eastern Donbas region.
One person was killed and one more was wounded on Sunday morning after Nikopol, a city in the southeastern Dnipropetrovsk region, was shelled. The attack damaged four residential buildings, a school and a water treatment facility.
Another person was wounded in Kharkiv after three Russian S-300 missiles hit infrastructure facilities overnight, regional governor Oleh Syniehubov said.
Ukrainian forces also downed five drones over the partially occupied Zaporizhzhia and Donetsk regions on Saturday evening, Kyiv’s military reported.
Oleksiy Danilov, the secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, told Ukrainian television on Saturday night that Moscow is having trouble mounting its latest offensive.
“They have begun their offensive, they’re just not saying they have, and our troops are repelling it very powerfully. The offensive that they planned is already gradually underway. But [it is] not the offensive they were counting on,” Mr Danilov said.
Following president Volodymyr Zelenksy’s visit to the UK this week, government officials are said to be in talks about the manufacture of British weapons and other military equipment in Ukraine.
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