Ukraine: Russian transporting truck struck by artillery fire
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Russia has controlled large chunks of Ukraine’s south since the early days of the war – including the entire Kherson region, whose capital city of almost 300,000 serves as a gateway to wider control of the area.
Since late May, however, the Ukrainian Armed Forces have been reporting counteroffensive operations against Moscow, with President Volodymyr Zelensky saying last month his men were “gradually liberating” the region.
On Friday morning, Ukraine’s Operational Command South said the army had tore down two modernized T-72B3 tanks and four units of armoured vehicles over the past 24 hours on the southern frontline.
It added that 35 soldiers had been killed in the same period.
The reported losses add to figures released last week that show Vladimir Putin’s army has lost around 35,000 troops, 1,500 tanks and 217 planes since the beginning of the war in late February.
The data, shared by Ukraine’s Centre for Strategic Communications and Information Security, which sits under the country’s Ministry of Culture and Information Policy, is currently the closest representation of the state of Moscow’s military.
However, information on casualties and hardware losses cannot be verified.
According to the update, published last Friday, other losses among Russia’s equipment include 3,645 armoured Protected Vehicles (APV), 75 artillery systems, 241 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS) and 2,560 vehicles.
The Kremlin has only given an official toll of troops killed on two occasions, the last on March 25, with a figure of 1,351 which experts described at the time as way too low.
Kyiv reveals no such statistics for its own forces or hardware.
However, Mr Zelensky said on June 1 his army was losing up to 100 soldiers per day, while some 500 were being wounded.
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In an interview with the US Newsmax television channel, the president said: “The situation is very difficult: we’re losing 60 to 100 soldiers per day as killed in action and something around 500 people as wounded in action. So we are holding our defensive perimeters.”
Russia’s losses in Kherson, which was the first major city Putin’s men captured at the start of the invasion, came amid a significant victory for Kyiv as Moscow withdrew from Snake Island – or Zmiinyi Island, as it is known in Ukraine.
The small outcrop, just 35km (22 miles) off Ukraine’s coast, was seized by Moscow on the first day of the conflict.
Now, after more than four months of repeated Ukrainian bombardment from the mainland, the Russians have abandoned the strategic Black Sea island.
The Kremlin said the pullout was a “goodwill gesture” to allow for grain exports.
Ukraine’s military, meanwhile, dubbed the claim as a lie and described scenes of Russians fleeing the island in two speedboats after a barrage of Ukrainian artillery and missile strikes.
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