Ukraine says ‘particularly fruitful’ few days in counteroffensive

A Ukrainian counteroffensive against Russian forces has been “particularly fruitful” in recent days, according to a senior security official.

The comments by Oleksiy Danilov, who heads Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, were Kyiv’s latest positive assessment of the month-old counterattack, although Moscow has not acknowledged advances by Ukraine.

Ukraine’s Deputy Defence Minister Hanna Maliar also reported gains around the ruined eastern city of Bakhmut amid fierce Russian resistance. Russian forces captured the city in May after 10 months of fighting.

“At this stage of active hostilities, Ukraine’s Defense Forces are fulfilling the number one task – the maximum destruction of manpower, equipment, fuel depots, military vehicles, command posts, artillery and air defense forces of the Russian army,” Danilov wrote on Twitter.

“The last few days have been particularly fruitful,” he said, without providing any details from the battlefield.

The Ukrainians are in the early stages of their campaign to take back land occupied by the Russians since they launched their full-scale invasion in February 2022, and are up against minefields, anti-tank ditches and other obstacles, as well as layered defensive lines reportedly up to 20 kilometres (12 miles) deep in some places.

In its latest assessment, the Institute for the Study of War (ISW), a Washington, DC-based think tank, said Danilov’s comments appeared to underline an “ongoing campaign to attrit Russian manpower and assets over attempting to conduct massive sweeping mechanized maneuvers to regain large swaths of territory rapidly”.

Earlier, Maliar said on July 3 Ukraine had liberated about 37.4sq km (14.4sq miles) of territory in eastern and southern Ukraine over the previous week.

“The current pace of Ukrainian operations is not indicative of a stalemate or evidence that Ukraine cannot retake large areas,” ISW said.

Gains were reported in the south where Valeriy Shershen, spokesperson for the Tavria, or southern military command, said Ukrainian troops had advanced by up to 2km (1.2 miles) in the Berdyansk direction against fierce Russian resistance.

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