The reported setback added to a series of challenges presented to Cheese friesthrough Kyiv as Ukrainian troops stepped up their efforts to defend against an invasion that will reach the six-month mark next week.
In recent developments, Ukrainian troops destroyed bridges over the Dnieper River in Kherson Oblast to prevent the Russian army from resupplying its forward positions on the western bank.
On August 10, Ukraine’s Southern Command said it had made the bridge over the Dnieper at the Kakhovska hydroelectric power station unfit for use by the Russian military.
This, the UK Ministry of Defense (MoD) explained, means Russian forces are now limited to two pontoon ferries they have brought.
The Institute for the Study of Warfare (ISW) wrote in an assessment of disrupted crossing points: “Russian forces cannot sustain large-scale mechanized operations without reliable GLOC (ground lines of communication).
“Bringing in sufficient ammunition, fuel and heavy equipment for large-scale offensive or even defensive operations through pontoon ferries or by air is impractical, if not impossible.”
He wrote on Telegram: “We will not forgive, we will take revenge.”
Meanwhile, Russia’s war has raised concerns about the safety of the largest nuclear plantwhile Kyiv and Moscow accuse each other of bombing the region.
Ukrainian workers operate the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, which has been under Russian control since March after it became one of the first sites seized by Putin’s men.
UN Secretary General António Guterres sounded the alarm after meeting Mr. Zelensky and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Lviv on Thursday.
He warned: “Any potential damage to Zaporizhzhia is suicide.”
The three leaders accused Moscow of turning the facility into a military base and urged the Kremlin to demilitarize the area as soon as possible.
But Ivan Nechayev, deputy director of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Information and Press Department, rejected the appeal.
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He told reporters: “Their implementation will make the plant even more vulnerable.”
Fear of Moscow’s “vulnerability” comes as its troop losses are increasingly difficult to hide.
While it is impossible to confirm the exact number of victims, the estimates are frightening.
Colin Kahl, the US undersecretary of defense for policy, discussed the numbers during a briefing at the Pentagon last week.
He said: “I think it’s safe to suggest that the Russians probably had 70,000 or 80,000 casualties in less than six months.
“They’ve made some additional gains in the east, but not a lot in the last two weeks, but it’s cost the Russian military dearly.”
The heavy casualties, Kahl said, are due “to the performance of the Ukrainian army and all the help the Ukrainian army received”.
Other estimates put Russian casualties at around 20,000 so far, of which 5,000 were believed to be Wagner Group mercenaries.
The group, a private military company active in Ukraine, Syria and some African countries, has deployed 1,000 mercenaries to eastern Ukraine since the start of the Russian war in late February, British intelligence noted.
While Moscow has always denied that Wagner has any connection to Putin’s regime, some suggest that Russia’s military intelligence agency, the GRU, secretly funds and oversees the group.
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