Pentagon estimates up to 80,000 Russian casualties
The news comes as the Russian-led invasion of Ukraine enters day 167, with Vladimir Putin’s troops reportedly using a nuclear power station as a resting base due to its protected status. However, in spite of the site being used as a base, reports have emerged shelling has caused damage to some of the plant, raising concerns a nuclear disaster could be on the table.
The latest MoD intelligence report paints another bleak picture of Putin’s ambitions of a rapid and seamless invasion of Ukraine, in its so-called “special operation.”
The latest report said: “Over the weekend, Russia has continued to focus efforts on reinforcing defences in southern Ukraine.
“Despite the shift in the effort, Russia has maintained attacks on Ukrainian positions in Donetsk oblast.
“Over the last 30 days, Russia’s assault towards the town of Bakhmut has been its most successful axis in the Donbas, however, Russia has only managed to advance about 10km during this time.”
Putin has made little progress over the last 30 days according to the MoD
Russian troops are using the Zaporizhzhia plant as cover
The report went on to discuss other areas in the Donbas region.
It continued: “In other Donbas sectors where Russia was attempting to break through, its forces have not gained more than 3km during this 30-day period, almost certainly significantly less than planned.
“Despite its continued heavy use of artillery in these areas, Russia has not been able to generate capable combat infantry in sufficient numbers to secure more substantial advances.”
Russia’s desperation to boost front-line numbers has become evident in recent weeks as Putin was forced to turn to convicts to join the shady Wagner Group on the front lines of the fight.
In a report published yesterday, group CEO and close Putin ally Yevgeny Prigozhin visited some of the prisons in person to find willing recruits who received a presidential pardon and a salary for joining up.
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Russian shelling in Bakhmut has caused huge damage
The Donbas region remains the focus of Russian attacks and shelling
Ukraine has relied heavily on Western supplies of weapons to defend itself since the start of the war, with the US being the main supplier of arms.
Aside from hardware and military know-how, the US has also provided large sums of financial help to Ukraine.
This week, Washington approved a further £3.7bn worth of aid to Ukraine according to the US Agency for International Development.
The funding, coordinated with the US Treasury Department through the World Bank, will go to Ukraine’s government in tranches, beginning with a £2.5bn disbursement in August, USAid, says the agency.
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Staying with humanitarian news, more ships are leaving Ukrainian ports laden with grain following months of hiatus caused by security fears in the Black Sea.
Many have accused Putin of weaponising the grain supply from Ukraine to the rest of the world, suggesting many developing nations were facing severe difficulty due to the lack of the commodity, which for many, is a staple part of their diet.
So far, a total of 10 ships have left Ukraine according to Reuters.
Future ships exporting Ukraine grain through the Black Sea will now be protected by a 10 nautical mile buffer zone, according to long-awaited procedures agreed upon by Russia, Ukraine, Turkey and the United Nations.
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President Zelensky has called on bans for Russian travellers
Hopes of diplomatic talks to end the war have also been dealt a blow as Russia has said there was “no basis” for meeting Ukrainian officials.
Negotiations between Moscow and Kyiv have been stalled for months, with each side blaming the other for a lack of progress, Reuters reports.
Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky has called on the international community to pile further pressure on Putin by banning Russians from travelling.
In an interview with the Washington Post, Zelenskiy said the most important sanctions against Russia would be to close borders, “because the Russians are taking away someone else’s land”.
He said Russians should “live in their own world until they change their philosophy”.
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