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The Russian army launched a new offensive in the east of Ukraine; the United States disclosed the assessment of the Russian army’s battle damage

The Russian army launched a new offensive in the east of Ukraine; the United States disclosed the assessment of the Russian army’s battle damage

In Kharkiv, firefighters try to put out a cafe that was set on fire by shelling. (May 26, 2022)

Russian forces in northeastern Ukraine, which had been pushed back to the Russian border, appear to have launched a new offensive. Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine has entered its third month and has evolved into what some Western officials describe as “scrap iron” with no end in sight.

Russian shelling killed at least seven civilians and wounded 17, officials in Ukraine’s second-largest city of Kharkiv said Thursday (May 26), as heavy fighting broke out in the north and east of the city.

Eyewitnesses in Kharkiv also reported hearing explosions and the Russians appeared to be trying to strengthen their positions north of the city.

After the Ukrainian counteroffensive earlier this month, Russian troops near Kharkiv have been pushed back step by step, farther and farther from the city and closer to the Russian border. However, Ukrainian officials said Moscow appeared determined to fight back.

“It’s too early to relax,” said Kharkiv Governor Oleg Sinegubov. “The enemy is again viciously attacking the civilian population, terrorizing them.”

Russian officials have yet to comment on developments near Kharkiv, though news posted on Russian military social media continues to boast that the Russian army has continued its operations against the Ukrainian army. With success, these battlefields included the Donbas region.

A senior U.S. Defense Department official said Thursday that despite reports of increased fighting around Kharkiv, “no major changes” were made on the ground.

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“Our assessment remains that the Ukrainian army continues to push the Russian army further (away from the city),” the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence matters, told reporters.

“This is in the range of a few kilometers to more than 10 kilometers from the territory of Russia,” the official added.

But in other parts of eastern Ukraine, Russia was able to achieve what the official described as “incremental gains,” including in Popasna. Asia and the easternmost Ukrainian-controlled city of Severo-Donetsk.

“We believe that Russian forces were able to occupy most of the northeastern part of Severo Donetsk,” the U.S. defense official said. “But they haven’t been able to cut it off completely, because the Ukrainians are still fighting for it.”

Ukrainian officials acknowledged Thursday that Russia was advancing to surround Ukrainian forces fighting in the east, in Severo Donetsk and nearby The city of Lisichansk, the Russian army has made progress.

“Russia has an advantage, but we are doing everything we can,” Oleksi Gromov of the Ukrainian General Staff told Reuters.

Lugansk Governor Sergei Heyday added: “It is clear that our lads are slowly retreating to firmer positions – we have to stand up to this horde of enemies.”

Prime Minister of Finland visits Kyiv:

Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin visited Kyiv on Thursday in solidarity with Ukraine. She also visited Irpin and Butcha. Russia allegedly committed war crimes in both towns.

Photo released by the Ukrainian Presidential Press Office shows President Zelensky meeting Finnish Prime Minister Marin in Kyiv. (May 26, 2022)

“We in Finland support all actions taken by the ICC to consider these crimes, gather evidence for future proceedings, and convict Russia,” Marin said after meeting Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky. 

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Ki posted on social media thanking Finland for her support.

“Finnish military aid is invaluable,” he wrote. “Weapons sanctions policy and the solidarity of our partners on Ukraine’s accession to the European Union — this is the strength that can be given to us to defend our homeland.”

Although the fighting has been a back-and-forth and Russian forces have the upper hand, Western officials have Continued to praise Kiev for its stubborn resistance and say that Kiev is making good use of the security aid pouring into Ukraine.

Russian War Damage Assessment:

The Ukrainian army also made an optimistic statement about its ability to resist the Russian army. The Ukrainian army claims to have killed about 29,600 Russian troops since the February 24 Russian invasion.

The United States on Thursday released its assessment of Russia’s material damage, a figure that is slightly more conservative than Kyiv’s. But the senior U.S. defense official said Russia had lost about 1,000 tanks, nearly 40 planes, more than 50 helicopters, and 350 artillery pieces.

The official declined to disclose an assessment of the number of Russian casualties but said Russian losses had been significant, although the situation had changed since the war began.

“The Russian side is losing soldiers every day, but based on the fighting we’re seeing, the numbers … are different,” the official said. “Battles now are basically fighting for smaller territories and using smaller units of troops.”

The Russian army released its assessment of Ukrainian losses on Thursday, claiming that the Russian army has so far destroyed 179 planes, 127 helicopters, more than 1,000 drones, hundreds of air defense systems, and more than 1,600 pieces of Ukrainian artillery and mortars. gun system.

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German chancellor vows not to let Putin win:

Meanwhile, key Western leaders stressed on Thursday the need to back Ukraine.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz told the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland that Russian President Vladimir Putin “can never win his war, and I’m sure he won’t.”

He added that no Russia should be asked to specify the terms of the peace deal.

“Ukraine will not accept that, and neither will we,” Scholz said.

Kyiv Mayor Vitaly Klitschko told the World Economic Forum that Ukraine is “the key to freedom in the world”.

“We’re not just defending our families and our children, we’re defending you, because we share the same values,” Klitschko said. If left unchecked, Russia’s actions will have no end.

(This article draws on reports from The Associated Press, Reuters, and AFP.)

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