(Kyiv) Ukraine claimed Monday to have retaken 7 square kilometers of territory over the past week from Russian troops, after the liberation of two villages near the devastated town of Bakhmout, on the eastern front.
Engaged since the beginning of June in a difficult counter-offensive against Russian fortified lines, Ukrainian forces have increased their pressure over the past two weeks, retaking the village of Robotyné in the south, then that of Andriïvka in the east.
On Sunday, the neighboring village of Klichtchiïvka fell after months of fighting.
According to Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Ganna Maliar, Kyiv forces have recaptured 2 km2 during the past week near Bakhmout and more than 5 km2 in the south, where their efforts are now turning towards the village of Verbové.
“Our warriors, our heroes on the front line. I am proud of each of them. And I am grateful to each brigade for their strength! », Commented President Volodymyr Zelensky on X (formerly Twitter).
These towns, which had only a few hundred inhabitants before the war for the most populous, were destroyed by the fighting.
Beyond-the-front strikes also continued in Ukraine with 24 drones and 17 missiles launched by Russia in new nighttime attacks, the Ukrainian Air Force said.
“Eighteen drones were shot down” as were the 17 cruise missiles, she said.
In the Odessa region, above which 11 drones were shot down, the attack hit seaside infrastructure in the town of Vylkové, located in the Danube delta, without causing any casualties, said the governor of this region. region, Oleg Kiper.
In the Mykolaiv region, debris from a downed drone caused a fire in an empty building in the town of Snigourivka, also without causing any casualties, according to regional governor Vitaly Kim.
Russia, for its part, reported having shot down several Ukrainian drones during the night in annexed Crimea, in the Moscow region as well as in Belgorod and Voronezh, close to Ukraine. A type of attack which has become almost daily.
Ukrainian forces are working, both in the east and in the south, to cut off the Russian army’s logistical lines. However, their progress was slow, facing minefields, trenches and anti-tank traps.
American Chief of Staff Mark Milley said on Sunday that the Ukrainian counter-offensive “did not fail”, contrary to what Russian President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly stated, but that it was necessary to expect a very long conflict.
On the diplomatic level, Volodymyr Zelensky will be received at the White House on Thursday for new discussions with his American counterpart Joe Biden, whose country is the main military and financial support of Kyiv.
On the other hand, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi is expected in Russia from Monday until Thursday for talks devoted to “security”.
Long-standing partners, China and Russia frequently boast of their “limitless” partnership and their economic and military cooperation set to intensify.
Wang Yi must notably meet his counterpart Sergei Lavrov, the two men having to “focus their efforts on strengthening collaboration on the international scene”, according to Moscow.
Ties between Beijing and Moscow have grown even closer since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022, which China has refused to condemn.
In recent months, Chinese Defense Minister Li Shangfu visited Russia and Belarus, and Moscow and Beijing conducted joint maritime and air patrols.
This Chinese visit to Russia follows that last week of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, who expressed his “sincere thanks” to Vladimir Putin on Monday.
Mr Kim’s trip to the Russian Far East, which ended on Sunday, resulted in “no agreement” according to the Kremlin, but revealed potential military ties between the two countries.
The trip has revived Western fears that Pyongyang is supplying Moscow with arms and ammunition for its war in Ukraine.
The two leaders went so far as to symbolically offer each other a rifle.