Russia stopped a “large-scale offensive” by Ukrainian forces from Sunday morning which continued through to Monday, they say, claiming to have killed many soldiers and tanks in doing so.
Ukraine and Russia accuse each other of having launched assaults on each other in the Donetsk region on Sunday, with Moscow, in particular, saying they had foiled a “large-scale offensive”. As reported in The Times of London, the scale of the fighting Russia claims to be engaged in — defensively, they say — has triggered speculation over whether the long-discussed Ukrainian Spring counteroffensive is beginning.
According to Russia’s own account of developments on the ground, one Ukrainian mechanised brigade “lost “over 300 troops” 16 tanks, and 26 armoured vehicles, and 14 other vehicles. The wire on the fighting from Russia’s state propaganda arm claimed three of the vehicles destroyed were American-made Bradley IFV.
The Ukrainian forces “failed to achieve its goals”, a Russian general speaking for the Kremlin boasted. Nevertheless, according to Moscow’s own account the “fighting continues” in the area and “the Ukrainian military continue firing at Russian positions in these areas and building up forces”.
The Ukrainians have gone public with their own account of the fighting in the Donetsk region of the past 48 hours, saying far from launching an assault, they had been the victim of attacks by Russian forces. Moscow is trying to “completely capture Luhansk and Donetsk regions”, says Kyiv, and on Sunday “enemy forces carried out seven missile and 25 air strikes and about 20 attacks involving multiple rocket launchers on the positions of Ukraine’s Defense Forces and populated areas”.
The Ukrainian air force was active in the defence against these attacks, they said, noting they had launched 15 strikes against “enemy personnel clusters” from the air.
Otherwise, Ukraine has refused to comment on whether the much-discussed counter-offensive is coming, and has posted on social media encouraging silence on the matter.