Russia Claims Tactical Advances in Ukraine Amid Ongoing Conflict

MOSCOW – Russian forces are advancing in all tactical directions in Ukraine and have taken control of 28 settlements this month, Russia’s Defence Minister said on Friday, stating that Moscow would continue its special military operation.

At a meeting of regional defence ministers in Kazakhstan, Defence Minister Andrei Belousov reported that Russian forces have captured a total area of 880 square kilometres (339 square miles) this year. He claimed that Ukrainian troops were forced to retreat by eight to nine kilometres in key areas in the northeast Kharkiv region.

“Russia is continuing the special military operation, and all its objectives will certainly be achieved. Russia’s military grouping is forcing the enemy out of their positions,” Belousov asserted. He emphasized that advances are being made in all tactical directions, with Russian armed forces systematically reducing the combat potential of the Ukrainian armed forces.

Russia defends its decision to deploy tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine in February 2022 as a measure to safeguard its own defence and protect Russian speakers. However, Kyiv and the West condemn it as an illegal war of conquest, with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy vowing to expel every Russian soldier from Ukrainian territory.

Belousov also noted that Ukraine launched its largest missile attack this week on the bridge connecting Crimea, which Moscow annexed from Ukraine in 2014, to southern Russia. He stated that Russia successfully intercepted and shot down all the missiles.

Furthermore, Belousov accused the NATO military alliance of escalating the conflict in Ukraine. “NATO is building up its presence in eastern and central Europe and increasing the combat readiness and size of coalition forces. It is improving its military infrastructure and stepping up training and reconnaissance activities near our borders,” he said. “Everything is being done to prolong and escalate the armed conflict in Ukraine.