Kyiv/Moscow, July 3 (EFE).- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy Monday acknowledged the difficult situation in the war against Russian aggression but claimed that progress has been made, even as Russia said that Ukraine’s counter-offensive had failed in the face of its military might.
Zelenskyy expressed gratitude to those defending Ukraine. “The past week at the front was difficult. But we are making progress. We are moving forward, step by step.”
The Ukrainian defense ministry reported that its forces recaptured 28 square kilometers in the south of the country and nine square kilometers in the east over the past week.
Since Ukraine launched its counteroffensive a month ago to reclaim territories captured by Russia, Ukrainian forces have claimed to have restored control over more than 150 square kilometers in the south, according to the ministry.
However, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu contradicted these claims, stating that Ukraine’s counter-offensive had failed to achieve its military objectives.
The official Tass news agency mentioned Ukrainian troops using German-made Leopard tanks since the offensive began on June 4, which Russia claimed to have destroyed.
The Ukrainians “have not achieved its objectives in any of the frontline sectors, which testifies to the skills of Russian fighter,” Shoigu said.
He claimed that the Russian gains had busted the “high expectations from much-touted Western weapons.”
Shoigu dismissed the impact of the failed armed rebellion by the Wagner private military company on the performance of the Russian army, saying the victories demonstrated that the aborted mutiny did not affect the performance of the Russian army.
“The provocation did not affect the actions of the troop grouping. The military continued to bravely and selflessly carry out the tasks assigned to them,” he said in a teleconference with the senior military commanders.
The Russian minister said Moscow forces destroyed 16 Leopard tanks on the fronts of Donetsk, southern Donetsk, and Zaporizhia since the start of the counter-offensive.
He said despite the losses, “the Ukrainian leadership, at the insistence of West, requires the command of the armed forces to continue the offensive.”
He said Kyiv was trying to compensate for its “inability to secure success on the ground through terrorist attacks against civilian targets.”
The Russian minister said work had begun to establish the management bodies of the new military districts of Moscow and Leningrad. EFE