Day 467 of the Invasion of Ukraine: Kyiv claims Ignorance of a possible Counteroffensive
Day 467 of the invasion of Ukraine. Summary of key events in the last 24 hours:
- Ukraine: we are advancing towards Bakhmut, we do not know about the offensive towards Donetsk
- Over 1 million Russians were forced to leave Russia
- Kremlin: A fake Putin radio address was broadcast on Russian radio stations after a suspected hack
- Ukraine: Russia is lying about the Ukrainian counteroffensive to demoralize us
- Russia said its forces had repelled a large-scale Ukrainian offensive
- TASS: The Ukrainian army renewed attacks at the site of Sunday's breakthrough on the Zaporizhzhian Front
- The Ukrainian army has broken through the Russian line of defense on the Zaporizhzhian front
- "Wagner" captured the commander of the 72nd army brigade of Russia, who drunkenly fired at the PMC
- Russia uses a network of suppliers. It bypasses the sanctions, Zelensky said
- Almost half of the checked bomb shelters in Kyiv cannot be used
- Belgium is investigating whether weapons delivered to defend Ukraine were used in Russia
Ukraine: we are advancing towards Bakhmut, we do not know about the offensive towards Donetsk
Ukrainian tanks from the Third Brigade destroyed Russian positions in the "Bakhmut direction".
Oleksandr Syrskyi's comments came hours after the Russian Defense Ministry reported a major repulsed attack launched by Ukraine that left 250 dead among Kyiv's forces. At the same time, Ukraine does not comment on the claims that it is leading an operation towards Donetsk, and calls them "fake news".
On Telegram, Syrskyi, predictably, did not mention the location of the clash, but posted a video labeled as Third Assault Brigade content. He spoke of the "Bakhmut direction" weeks after Russia and the fighters of the private military company Wagner, fighting in Bakhmut, announced that they had taken full control of Bakhmut, the city that has been fought for the longest in the course of the war in Ukraine.
Earlier, Wagner founder Yevgeny Prigozhin said that Ukrainian forces had captured part of the village of Berkhivka, 3 km northwest of Bakhmut. "Part of Barkhivka is already lost; the soldiers are fleeing. Shame," Prigozhin said in an audio message released by his press office; according to him, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov should personally come to the front to motivate the servicemen.
Commentary on whether reports of fighting west of Donetsk suggest the start of a large-scale offensive is mixed. The Bell publication notes that Ukraine's actions may be part of the so-called probing operations, heavily seeding the enemy's capabilities or uncovering defense positions with so-called combat reconnaissance. Russian representatives in Donbas claim that Russian forces have for the first time noticed the use of German Leopard tanks in combat by the Ukrainian army.
A spokesman for the General Staff of the Ukrainian army, meanwhile, said in response to questions from "Reuters" that the armed forces of Ukraine had no information that Ukraine was conducting an offensive in five places in the Donetsk region, as claimed by Russia. "We do not have such information and do not comment on any fake news," the responses stated.
Denis Pushilin, the leader of the unrecognized "Donetsk People's Republic" announced as annexed by Russia, has a different opinion. According to him, although the situation on the flanks is under control, it is "difficult".
The press secretary of the Kremlin Dmitry Peskov, for his part, directed the questions to the Ministry of Defense, which, as always, could provide the necessary information about the "special military operation" (the war).
Over 1 million Russians were forced to leave Russia
More than 1 million Russians were forced to leave Russia by the regime of Vladimir Putin - this was announced by the director of Eastern Europe and Central Asia at the European External Action Service, at the conference of the Russian democratic opposition in the European Parliament in Brussels that started today.
"I was born in Czechoslovakia and I remember how my parents gathered to listen to Radio Free Europe", said the European Commissioner for Transparency and Values Vera Jourova in her address, thus emphasizing the importance of free media:
"I want to honor political prisoners in Russia and leaders like Vladimir Kara-Murza, Alexei Navalny, Ilya Yashin and, unfortunately, many others. I wish them and their families a lot of strength."
"Russia has withdrawn from Europe and the Russian Orthodox Church has renounced the God of the New Testament", Nobel Peace Prize laureate Dmitry Muratov said in an online address:
"The most important thing is that in today's religious and propaganda idea, death is more important than life. Life is not a gift of God, but death in the name of the state. For death, especially if it happened under contract, they pay significantly more, it has become a profitable investment. For a contract death, a person receives such money as he could have received in 20-25 years of his life."
"Our common goal is a just peace, regime change, a guarantee of a peaceful future and fair democratic elections. The rest - left, right and where, the voter decides," said former tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky of the representatives of the Russian opposition present. And reminded:
"For us, reaching a long-term and even medium-term agreement with Putin is not possible. This regime must be destroyed. There is simply no other way for a peaceful and normal future not only for Russia, but also for Europe and the whole world. The simple replacement of Putin with another name without a transition to a parliamentary and deeply federalized model of government, without free and fair elections, simply will not change anything". The conference continues on Tuesday.
Kremlin: A fake Putin radio address was broadcast on Russian radio stations after a suspected hack
President Vladimir Putin's radio address, which was heard today on Russian radio stations in regions bordering Ukraine, is fake, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said. It was the result of an alleged hacker attack, Russian state news agency RIA Novosti reported, adding that a number of radio stations broadcast the fake address.
"All these messages are absolute fakes," said Peskov.
According to independent Russian media, the message informed the population of Rostov, Belgorod and Voronezh regions, which all border Ukraine, that Kyiv forces had crossed the border into Russia.
They cited the address, which falsely claimed that martial law had been declared in the border areas, and mobilization had begun across the country for Moscow's war with Ukraine, and that the population should be evacuated further into Russian territory.
Kyiv denies sending any troops into Russian territory and says sporadic ground incursions over the past three months, which Moscow blames on Ukraine, were the work of Russian guerrillas.
In a statement published on Telegram, the administration of the Voronezh region confirmed that there had been a hacker attack and announced that the regional radio stations were under the control of law enforcement agencies and local authorities.
Fake "Putin's urgent appeal" was broadcast on radio and television in the border regions— NEXTA (@nexta_tv) June 5, 2023
With the voice of the bunker Fuhrer the hackers announced the martial law in Belgorod, Bryansk and Kursk regions, the general mobilization and evacuation deep into the Russian territory. The… pic.twitter.com/gQE0Uo8EcK
Ukraine: Russia is lying about the Ukrainian counteroffensive to demoralize us
The Russian army is preparing a large-scale information and psychological operation and is using the topic of the Ukrainian "counteroffensive" to demoralize Ukrainians, UNIAN reported, citing data from the strategic command of the Armed Forces of Ukraine (VSU). According to the agency, Russia will start distributing previously prepared old photos and videos through social networks and Telegram channels that will demonstrate the "defeats" of the Ukrainian army. In particular, they will show destroyed equipment, killed Ukrainians and prisoners.
"Russian propagandists will spread false information about the counteroffensive, its directions and the losses of the Ukrainian troops. Even if there is no counteroffensive", reports VSU.
The department reminds that the public should be guided in such matters only by the operational reports of the General Staff and the announcements of official representatives of the VSU.
Russia said its forces had repelled a large-scale Ukrainian offensive
Russian forces have thwarted a major Ukrainian offensive in southern Ukraine's Donetsk region, the Russian Defense Ministry said early this morning, as cited by Reuters.
A statement from the ministry said Ukraine launched the offensive yesterday, with six mechanized and two tank battalions deployed.
Reuters noted that it was unable to verify the Russian statement. So far, there is no comment from Ukraine.
It is unclear whether the reported attack marks the official start of a long-awaited Ukrainian counteroffensive to retake some of the territory seized by Russian forces since the invasion began in February 2022.
"The enemy's goal was to break through our defenses in what he believed to be the most vulnerable sector of the front," the Russian Defense Ministry said. "The adversary did not complete his tasks and did not succeed".
Russian forces killed 250 Ukrainian servicemen as well as destroyed 16 tanks, infantry fighting vehicles and 21 armored fighting vehicles, according to the same source. This was achieved "as a result of the skillful and competent actions of the military group East".
Yesterday, Kyiv called for "silence" before the long-awaited counter-offensive to regain the territories that Russia took under its control in the already 15-month-long war, Reuters recalls.
It comes when it comes. pic.twitter.com/uathW42dpr— NOELREPORTS ???????? ???????? (@NOELreports) June 4, 2023
The chief of the Russian General Staff, Valery Gerasimov, who is in charge of Moscow's military operation in Ukraine, was in the area of the Ukrainian attack, the ministry said, specifying that he was "at one of the forward command posts".
In a video posted on the ministry's Telegram channel, several military vehicles located in a large area can be seen under air attack.
In а drone strike, a fire broke out at an energy facility in Russia's Belgorod region early this morning, Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov said. No one was injured, he added оn Telegram.
A total of 10 drones were intercepted over the Crimean Peninsula and the Kursk region
Russia said it intercepted nine drones over the Crimean peninsula and one over the small town of Suja in the southern Kursk region, in near-daily attacks against the country or Moscow-controlled territories in Ukraine, Reuters reports.
Five drones were shot down and four were stopped and did not hit their targets in Jankoi, on the Crimean peninsula, a Russian official based in Crimea said. Moscow annexed the peninsula from Ukraine in 2014.
Later in the day, a Ukrainian drone was shot down over Sudzha, the governor of the Kursk region bordering Ukraine announced on Telegram. Reuters noted that it could not independently verify the reports.
The strikes came after multiple attacks on Russia's Belgorod border region and oil infrastructure in the country, as well as a drone strike on wealthy Moscow neighborhoods earlier in the week. Kyiv denies attacking Moscow, and Ukraine almost never takes public responsibility for attacks in other parts of Russia or against Russian-held territory in Ukraine.
No people were injured in yesterday's drone attacks, according to Russian officials. In Dzhankoi, the windows of several houses were broken, Sergei Aksyonov, the Russian-backed head of Crimea's administration, reported on Telegram. He added that an unexploded drone was found on the territory of a residential house, which necessitated the temporary evacuation of about 50 people in the area.
Russia has an air base near Dzhankoi. Ukrainian officials have long claimed that the city and surrounding areas have been turned into Moscow's largest military base in Crimea, Reuters recalls.
According to Polish media, Poles are also involved in the fighting in Russia's Belgorod region, DPA reported. Online news portals Polsatnews.pl and Wprost.pl reported yesterday that fighters from the Polish Volunteer Corps are fighting on the side of the Ukrainian army. They referred to the group's own Telegram messages and to a video purported to show soldiers on their way to Belgorod.
According to Polsat, the Polish Volunteer Corps was founded in February. Initially, it fought alongside the Ukrainian army as an independent unit composed only of Poles. In the meantime, the unit also operates together with the Russian Volunteer Corps (RDK).
TASS: The Ukrainian army renewed attacks at the site of Sunday's breakthrough on the Zaporizhzhian Front
On Monday morning, active hostilities were resumed in the area of the Vremevsky ledge of the Zaporizhzhian front, TASS reported, citing the chairman of the pro-Russian movement in the partially occupied Zaporizhzhia region "We are together with Russia" Vladimir Rogov. Fighting resumed at 4 a.m. Monday.
On Sunday, the Russian side, in the complete silence of Kyiv, admitted a breakthrough of about 250-300 meters in the first line of defense of the Russian army, but in its report this morning, the Institute for the Study of War ISW wrote about an entry of the VSU of about 3 kilometers ahead of their previous positions.
The Rybar channel also confirms that since early morning, active fighting has been going on in two directions. The moderators of the channel report that the enemy with huge forces has entered from the West of the Vuhledar direction. The channel's version is that the possible objective is a takeover from the South. “By the way”, writes yibar, “Kyiv can try to go both down, in the direction of Nikolsk and Mangushevo, and towards Volnovakha, with the aim of cutting the DPR into two parts”.
"There are also offensive actions of the enemy in the region of Artyomovsk (Bakhmut). Soledar, north of the city, is also under artillery fire. Fighting is also taking place southwest of Bakhmut," Russian military bloggers wrote.
There are no comments on the offensive activity of the Armed Forces of Ukraine from the last 24 hours both in the reports of the Ukrainian General Staff and in the statements of military officials and civilians in Kyiv.
The Ukrainian army has broken through the Russian line of defense on the Zaporizhzhian front
The Ukrainian army launched an attack on the Zaporizhzhian front and managed to break through the Russian defense line, Russian military bloggers, in particular, the moderators of the Telegram channel "Операция Z. Военкоры Русской весны", reported. The Kyiv attacks are also mentioned in the official announcements of the Russian news agencies.
"Enemy offensive on the Zaporizhzhian front. The VSU managed to wedge itself into the first line of defense," the military bloggers wrote. “In the area of the Vremevsky ledge, the Ukrainians managed to clear the territory at night, on which at 12:00 p.m. noon on Sunday, 3 armored groups of tanks and NATO armored vehicles launched an attack”.
"The enemy entered the ‘gray zone’ (the line between the positions of the two sides), leaving our front positions, having wedged up to 250-300 meters in the Novodarovka area. At the villages of Priyutne and Neskuchno-Makarovka, in the course of battles, the enemy (VSU) was stopped by units of the 5th Army of the Eastern Military District," the Russians wrote.
Correspondents further reported that the Ukrainians had up to 3 motorized infantry companies with tanks and NATO-standard light armored vehicles, and according to the Russian side, the VSU lost at least 2 tanks, several armored fighting vehicles and up to a platoon of assault infantry.
The commander of the Russian "Vostok" battalion, Alexander Khodakovsky, also reported on the Ukrainian breakthrough. "Grouping a striking fist in the first half of the day, the enemy managed to achieve a tactical position and captured one of our positions, but suffered tangible losses. Now the enemy is increasing its presence in the breach zone and, apparently, is trying to multiply its success," Khodakovsky wrote . The commander specifies explicitly that "these actions are not in themselves the promised counteroffensive of the Armed Forces of Ukraine".
In the summary of the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, published at 20:30 p.m. Bulgarian time, the military actions described by Russian military bloggers in the area of the Zaporizhzhian Front are not mentioned. It only says that "in the Zaporizhzhian and Kherson regions, Russian forces are on the defensive."
"Wagner" captured the commander of the 72nd army brigade of Russia, who drunkenly fired at the PMC
Fighters of the private military company "Wagner" arrested and captured the commander of the 72nd army brigade of the Russian Federation on Sunday, the Wagnerites announced in a video in which the captured senior military officer of Moscow "gives testimony". Telegram channels close to Yevgeny Prigozhin broke the news around midnight on Monday and launched a new episode of Putin's Chef war with the leadership of the Ministry of Defense led by Sergei Shoigu.
In the video released by Prigozhin's people, a man in civilian clothes who identifies himself as "Lieutenant Colonel Roman Gennadievich Venevitin" tells the story of his capture. During the video interrogation, the senior officer explains his guilt, for which he was detained - firing at a vehicle of PMC "Wagner" and disarming a unit of the private army with 10-12 fighters. When asked why, the commander replied that it was because of a feeling of personal dislike and, being in a state of alcoholic intoxication.
The 72nd Army Brigade of Russia enters the narrative of Yevgeny Prigozhin for the second time in a few days. On May 17, the businessman accused the formation of undermining the path to withdraw of PMC "Wagner" from the Bakhmut region. Lieutenant Colonel Venevitin, commander of military unit 13674 is the man who, according to Prigozhin's men, directed the mining. When "Wagner" tried to mine the route, the regular Russian army opened fire on them.
Not all Russian media accept Yevgeny Prigozhin's version as authentic. "Политика страны" commented on the situation as strange, since if the arrested Russian colonel had taken a whole complex of actions against "Wagner" for two days, this could hardly be explained by chance or “personal animosity in a state of alcohol intoxication”.
Therefore, according to the publication, the situation can have two explanations.
The first - the shelling story was made up by Prigozhin, and the brigade commander was caught by "Wagner" and made to "give evidence" in a video story within the framework of the PMC's war with the Ministry of Defense of Russia.
The second - the units of the Russian army were given an order to prevent the exit of Wagnerites from Bakhmut. Only Prigozhin and representatives of Ukraine and the West are talking about the rotation of the PMC with a regular Russian army in the city and the Russian Ministry of Defense has not confirmed that it will take over Bakhmut instead of Prigozhin's men. The businessman himself announced at the beginning of May that he was threatened that he would be charged with "treason" if he left the positions in Bakhmut without an order. It is not excluded that the Russian Ministry of Defense is now trying to implement its threats, Russian military correspondents comment.
Although this is only speculation, it seems that Prigozhin's relationship with the Ministry of Defense is already teetering on the edge of transition from information warfare to real warfare. It is also striking that neither the Ministry of Defense of Russia nor the authorities in the Kremlin generally comment on the situation with Prigozhin's constant media attacks.
PMC Wagner detained and interrogated no other but the commander of the 72nd Brigade, Roman Venevitin. Wagner and the 72nd Brigade shared positions in Bakhmut.— Dmitri (@wartranslated) June 4, 2023
They detained the man, beat him, broke his nose, and forced to record a video admitting to firing at a car of PMC… pic.twitter.com/BY3PhEV60q
Russia uses a network of suppliers. It bypasses the sanctions, Zelensky said
Russia is using a network of suppliers to avoid international sanctions aimed at preventing it from producing missiles and other weapons, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said last night, quoted by Reuters.
Zelensky's video address said unnamed countries and companies were helping Moscow acquire technology, particularly for missile production. Russia has fired hundreds of missiles at Ukrainian targets since October.
"Unfortunately, the terrorist state manages to use the technology of the world through a network of suppliers, managing to bypass international sanctions," Zelensky said. Ukraine, he added, is well aware of all Russian efforts to circumvent sanctions and will seek to ensure that "there are no products of the free world in Russian missiles."
In April, a senior aide to Zelensky said Ukrainian forces were finding more components from China in Russian weapons used in Ukraine as Western supplies were cut off by sanctions. China denies sending military equipment to Russia, recalls Reuters, quoted by BTA.
Almost half of the checked bomb shelters in Kyiv cannot be used
A senior Ukrainian government official expressed surprise after learning that nearly half of Kyiv’s bomb shelters checked during an initial audit were closed or unusable, Reuters reported.
President Volodymyr Zelensky ordered an inspection of all Ukrainian bomb shelters on Friday, a day after three people were killed in Kyiv while trying unsuccessfully to enter a shelter during a Russian airstrike.
Oleksandr Kamyshin, Ukraine's strategic industries minister, said that of 1,078 shelters checked on the first day, 359 were unprepared and another 122 locked, while 597 were usable.
"Yesterday, when we selectively checked the shelters in the Obolon district with our mayor, the absolute majority of the shelters were closed," he wrote on Telegram.
Kamyshin said inspections will continue.
Russia has stepped up regular attacks on Kyiv since early May, especially at night, ahead of a long-awaited Ukrainian counteroffensive.
Thursday's deaths sparked public outrage and a promise of a sharp response from President Zelensky, which appeared to be aimed at Kyiv Mayor Vitaly Klitschko. There have been clashes between them in the past.
Klitschko admitted at a local commission meeting on Friday that he bore some responsibility, but said others were also to blame, particularly those close to the president who were appointed to run the city's districts.
Belgium is investigating whether weapons delivered to defend Ukraine were used in Russia
Belgium will ask Ukraine for an explanation over reports that Belgian-made automatic rifles were used by pro-Ukrainian forces to fight Russian troops in Russia, Belgian Prime Minister Alexander de Croo said on Monday, as quoted by Reuters.
The Washington Post reported on Saturday that anti-Kremlin fighters who launched a cross-border attack from Ukraine into Russia's Belgorod region last month used tactical vehicles originally provided to Ukraine by the United States and Poland and carried rifles made in Belgium. and the Czech Republic.
"Our Ministry of Defense and its intelligence agencies have launched an investigation and want information to determine exactly what happened," De Croo said on Belgium's Radio 1.
"European weapons are supplied to Ukraine on the condition that they are used on Ukrainian territory for the purpose of defending that territory," he added.
De Croo declined to comment on the possible consequences if the information is confirmed.
"We are analyzing the situation and will take this very seriously," the Prime Minister emphasized.
“Arms deliveries from Belgium are intended to protect the Ukrainian land and the Ukrainian people from Russian invasion, this is clearly stated in the relevant documents, these weapons should not fall into separate groups that pursue internal goals in Russia”, an informed source said, quoted by the Belgian media and BTA.
Local media specify that, according to US intelligence, Belgian-made automatic rifles were used by Russian fighters from the pro-Ukraine Freedom of Russia Legion (LSR) and Russian Volunteer Corps (RDK) groups.
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