Reports indicate that Ukrainian troops attacked at multiple points along the frontline in the disputed Donetsk Oblast (province) on June 5. Ukraine noted that it will not announce the start of its upcoming counteroffensive campaign, which defense analysts expect to take the form of a major advance using armored units aiming to break through well-entrenched and dug-in Russian positions in the east and south of Ukraine. (Related: ACTS OF TERROR: Ukraine's intel chief admits his government has MURDERED "quite a few" Russian civilians.)
But in previous statements, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky claimed that the country's forces were ready, and Deputy Minister for Defense Hanna Maliar said the Armed Forces of Ukraine were already "shifting to offensive operations in some areas."
Furthermore, in his nightly address to the nation, Zelensky praised the reported gains of Ukraine's "warriors" and claimed that "the news we have been waiting for" from Bakhmut has come, without giving further details.
"I am grateful to each soldier, to all our defenders, men and women, who have given us today the news we have been waiting for," said Zelensky. "Fine job, soldiers in the Bakhmut sector."
Even the Kremlin has admitted that Ukraine's military operation might have already begun. Minister of Foreign Affairs Dmytro Kuleba noted that Ukraine has enough weapons to begin a counter-offensive.
Military analysts said Ukraine's primary goal would be to cut off the "land bridge" that connects Russia to Crimea, a peninsula in southern Ukraine that is internationally recognized as Ukrainian territory but has been governed by Russia since 2014. To achieve this objective, Kyiv is looking to cut through Russian-held territory in the Donetsk and Zaporizhzhia oblasts.
Maliar noted that the ongoing battle in Bakhmut, in which Russia has claimed victory, remains the "epicenter" of offensive operations, and Ukrainian troops are reportedly advancing along the city's flanks to surround it.
According to the Russian Defense Ministry, Ukrainian troops attacked five locations in southern Donetsk Oblast on June 4, using six mechanized and two armored military formations, including in the city of Bakhmut.
Russian Defense Ministry spokesperson Igor Konashenkov said the multipronged attacks "did not achieve its goals" and claimed that the Russian Armed Forces killed 250 Ukrainian soldiers. Kyiv countered by describing Moscow's claims as an "informational and psychological operation" intended to demoralize the country.
Operations on June 4 were followed up by what Ukrainian officials described as "local" actions the next day.
Yevgeny Prigozhin, leader and founder of the Russian-aligned paramilitary organization the Wagner Group, said Russian forces lost part of a village called Berkhivka to the northwest of Bakhmut. He described the development as a "disgrace," and claimed in a statement that this shows the failure in Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov's leadership. Gerasimov currently serves as the commander of all Russian forces in Ukraine.
"Well done, warriors. We see how hysterically Russia reacts to any step we take there, all positions we take. The enemy knows that Ukraine will win," said Zelensky, describing the actions taken by his country's forces.
Military analysts described Ukraine's ongoing operations in the region appear to be the preliminary stages of the country's long-anticipated counteroffensive. Russian-aligned military bloggers also confirmed that Ukrainian forces have intensified their offensive operations in multiple areas along the frontline.
But the Kremlin continues to claim that Ukraine is suffering terribly and that it is not gaining any significant ground. On June 6, the morning after Ukraine's operations the previous day, the Russian Defense Ministry claimed that Ukraine "suffered heavy losses the day before."
The statement claimed that Russian forces killed over 1,500 Ukrainian troops, destroyed 28 tanks, including eight German-made Leopard main battle tanks, and destroyed 109 other armored vehicles.
"Having suffered heavy losses the day before, the Kyiv regime reorganized the remnants of the 23rd and 31st mechanized brigades into separate consolidated units, which continued offensive operations," read the Defense Ministry's statement.
Learn more about the ongoing conflict in Ukraine at UkraineWitness.com.
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