By Dave DeCamp / Antiwar.com
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has confirmed that Ukrainian forces have started their long-awaited counteroffensive.
Throughout last week, Russia reported large Ukrainian attacks in the eastern Donbas region and in the southern Zaporizhzhia Oblast, but Ukrainian officials stayed quiet about the assaults. On Saturday, Zelensky said that “relevant counteroffensive defensive actions are taking place in Ukraine.”
Zelensky didn’t offer any details about the operations, which are being carried out with NATO equipment by NATO-trained troops. On Sunday, Russia said that it destroyed several German-made Leopard tanks and US-made Bradley Fighting Vehicles over the past 48 hours.
The Russian Defense Ministry claimed it has continued to repel Ukrainian attacks. “During the past day, the armed forces of Ukraine continued unsuccessful attempts of offensive actions in the Donetsk, southern Donetsk, and Zaporizhzhia directions,” the ministry said.
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Ukrainian officials on Sunday claimed that their forces made gains in Donetsk. Neither the Russian or Ukrainian claims have been confirmed, but it’s clear there has been steady fighting both in the Donbas and in Zaporizhzhia, and US officials have acknowledged to CNN that Ukraine is taking heavy casualties.
The US has been pushing for a counteroffensive instead of peace talks as the Biden administration is against the idea of a ceasefire in Ukraine. US officials told POLITICO that they believe President Biden’s reputation and continued US support for Ukraine hinges on the success of the counteroffensive.
Dave DeCamp is the news editor of Antiwar.com, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.