(Moscow) Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said that his forces repelled, on Thursday, the Ukrainian attack in the Zaporizhia region of southern Ukraine, as Kiev said it was ready to launch an offensive to regain the territories occupied by Moscow.
“Today at 1:30 am (6:30 pm ET Wednesday) in the morning in the Zaporizhia region, the enemy tried to break through our defenses with […] “Up to 1,500 men and 150 armored vehicles,” Shoigu said in a statement.
“The enemy has stopped and is retreating with heavy losses,” he added. And to congratulate himself: “The enemy forces, specially trained to carry out this breakthrough, did not fulfill their mission.”
According to Mr. Choigu, “the enemy, after a two-hour battle, lost 30 tanks, 11 infantry fighting vehicles and up to 350 men,” but statements cannot be verified from independent sources.
The Ukrainian authorities did not immediately mention these events officially.
Kiev has been calling for months to prepare a major counterattack against Russian forces with the aim of recapturing Ukrainian territories that Moscow occupied, including Crimea, which was annexed in 2014.
Observers believe that the intensification of “offensive operations” carried out by Kiev along the front line in recent weeks are the first signs of this long-awaited attack.
And in a video clip published last Sunday, the Ukrainian army appeared to call on the soldiers to remain silent, and said that there would be no announcement of the start of this offensive, which the Russian army was also preparing to maintain its positions.