Ukraine claims advances in counterattacks against Russia’s Donbass offensive

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Ukrainian forces are said to have advanced on Russian positions near Kharkiv and Kherson, making small territorial gains amid an ongoing Russian offensive in the eastern Donbass region.

Russia, meanwhile, claimed to have destroyed a Ukrainian cache of weapons that had been supplied by the United States and Europe.

The May 7 claims by Oleskiy Arestovych, one of President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s top advisers, that Ukraine had made progress on the battlefield come just two days before Russia held ceremonies to mark Victory Day, the anniversary of the defeat of Nazi Germany.

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s May 9 speech will be closely watched to see if he announces a general mobilization or other major strategic shift, aimed at turning the tide of the war, which is now in its 73rd day.

In the first weeks after the February 24 invasion, Russian forces were thwarted in their attempts to seize kyiv and other Ukrainian cities, suffering heavy losses in personnel and equipment. The commanders then withdrew the units from areas near kyiv and repositioned them in Donbass.

Russia’s last official tally of its military casualties was 1,351. Western officials, however, say the toll is at least 15,000, and Ukrainian officials say the tally is over 20,000. Zelenskiy said the last month that between 2,500 and 3,000 Ukrainian soldiers had been killed, although this figure is considered an undercount.

The Russian Defense Ministry said on May 6 that its forces were continuing to advance towards positions in the Donbass and had destroyed an ammunition depot in Kramatorsk and shot down two Ukrainian warplanes.

Arestovitch claimed the Ukrainian advances in a video statement posted on his Telegram channel.

The Ukrainian General Staff, meanwhile, said in its daily assessment that Russian activity was relatively calm overnight, limited to military reconnaissance and artillery fire.

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Near Izyum, where there was significant back-and-forth, drones were repeatedly detected over defense positions, according to the report. Kharkiv was also hit by artillery.

Kherson, which is located in northern Crimea, well outside Donbass, has been contested for weeks, despite Russian forces claiming control of the region’s main city and a senior Russian politician surrendering. in the city of Kherson on May 6.

The Russian Defense Ministry said on May 6 that its forces were continuing to advance towards positions in the Donbass and had destroyed an ammunition depot in Kramatorsk and shot down two Ukrainian warplanes.

Meanwhile, on May 7, the ministry said its forces struck 18 Ukrainian military installations overnight, including three ammunition depots near the port city of Odessa. He also said that the Russian forces destroyed a stockpile of military equipment from the United States and European countries near a station in the Kharkiv region.

It was unclear exactly what the weapon was, or when it might have been delivered.

Ukraine’s successes against Russian forces are due in large part to major arms supplies from the United States and Europe – armaments that increasingly include offensive armaments like heavy artillery, howitzers and tanks.

Russia has repeatedly warned NATO that its arms supply convoys could be targeted, but has so far taken no steps to do so.

Russian forces have closed in on the last contingent of Ukrainian troops that have clung to the sprawling Azovstal steelworks in the port city of Mariupol. About 2,000 soldiers hid in the factory’s vast tunnels and bunkers, along with about 200 civilians.

Ukrainian officials said on May 6 that several dozen civilians, including 50 women, children and the elderly, had been evacuated from Azovstal, Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said.

Russia confirmed that around 50 people had been evacuated.

Mariupol itself was largely leveled by weeks of street-to-street fighting and heavy shelling. Azovstal has become a last bulwark for Ukrainian troops struggling to prevent a complete defeat of the city by the Russians.

In his nightly video address, Zelenskiy said that if Russian forces killed civilians or soldiers who might otherwise be freed, his government would hold no further peace talks with Moscow.

He said there was virtually nothing left of the once thriving port city, only “this little lawn, this little structure, the Azovstal Steelworks, or what’s left of it”.

For the first time since the invasion, the UN Security Council approved a brief resolution expressing its “deep concern” over the situation in Ukraine.

However, the text, which was adopted on May 6 with the vote of Russia, did not mention a “war”, a “conflict” or an “invasion” – as many members of the Council call the military action of the Russia – or a “special military operation”. as Moscow calls it.

“The Security Council expresses its deep concern regarding the maintenance of peace and security in Ukraine,” it read.

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