Russia Suffers 'Significant Losses' as Kherson Offensive Ramps Up—Ukraine

Ukraine has said it carried out air strikes on Russian bases and shot down planes, helicopters and drones on Wednesday.

The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine said on Thursday that over the previous 24 hours, Russian troops had focused on "establishing full control" over the Donetsk region, as they tried to maintain the captured districts of Kherson, part of the eastern city of Kharkiv, as well as the Zaporizhzhia and Mykolaiv regions.

Its Facebook post said that Russia had launched more than 10 missile and 22 air strikes but that "enemy troops continue to suffer...significant losses" in the village of Sladkovodne located in the Zaporizhzhia region.

According to a translation, the update said that "to support the actions of the ground groups" Ukraine's air force had "carried out more than 30 strikes on strongholds and places of concentration of the enemy's manpower and equipment."

Ukrainian soldier
A Ukrainian soldier takes a selfie as an artillery system fires in the front line in Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine, September 3, 2022. Ukraine's armed forces said that its troops hit 30 Russian targets in its daily update on September 8, 2022. Kostiantyn Liberov/Associated Press

"Ukrainian air defense units in various directions destroyed two Su-25 [Sukhoi] aircraft, two helicopters [Ka-52 and Mi-24], as well as five unmanned aerial vehicles," it said, adding that Ukrainian units had prevented the enemy from advancing and had "successfully repelled" enemy attacks in eight areas.

The account by the Ukrainian armed forces has not been independently confirmed and Newsweek has contacted the Russian defense ministry for comment.

It comes as Ukraine's forces undertake a widely reported counteroffensive against Russian troops.

The U.S. think tank, the Institute for the Study of War [ISW], said on Wednesday that Ukraine had retaken around 150 square miles of territory in the east of the eastern Kharkiv region.

It added that Ukrainian troops were "likely exploiting" the reallocation of Russian forces to the south because of Ukraine's ongoing operations in the Kherson region, whose capital city of the same name was seized by Russia early in the war, and which remains a key prize for both sides.

British defense officials said that Ukrainian troops in the Kherson region had "probably destroyed" a military pontoon bridge at Darivka, which is one of the main routes between the northern and southern sectors of Russia's military presence along the Dnieper river.

"Ukraine's systematic precision targeting of vulnerable crossing points likely continues to impose pressure on Russian forces as they attempt to contain Ukrainian attacks," the U.K Ministry of Defense said in its daily update on Thursday.

"It slows their ability to deploy operational reserves and resupply materiel from the east," the assessment added.

However, the mayor of Kharkiv, Ihor Terekhov, said that Russian forces carried out two missile strikes overnight in Ukraine's second city.

In a post on his Telegram channel, he said that the strikes at around midnight had hit infrastructure that was "critically important for the normal life support of the city" although there were no immediate details about victims or damage.

Meanwhile, Ukraine's military chief General Valeriy Zaluzhnyi said that the war is not likely to end in 2022, predicting that it would rage into the next year.

In an article, co-authored by lawmaker Mykhailo Zabrodskyi and published by state news agency Ukrinform, he said that "as long as the current situation persists, this war can last for years."