Russian Sneak Attack on Sumy Area Fails, Putin Forces Lose Ukrainian Ground

An attempt by Russian forces to conduct a sneak attack and cross into Ukraine's Sumy region on Monday failed, according to the head of the Sumy Regional State Administration.

Dmytro Zhyvytskyi said Monday in a Telegram post that the attempt took place at about 7 a.m. local time.

"The enemy opened fire on the border area of ​​Shostka district with mortars, grenade launchers, machine guns and submachine guns," the translated post read. "Enemy sabotage and reconnaissance groups tried to enter the region under cover of fire. Border guards gave battle to the Russians, the same retreat beyond the state border."

The reported failure to cross into Sumy is the latest indication of Russian losses and Ukrainian successes in the ongoing war, although they have not been addressed by Russian officials. Several reports issued last week by the Institute for the Study of War (ISW), a U.S. think tank that provides frequent updates on the war, said Russian President Vladimir Putin's troops were losing ground in Ukraine and had been forced to go on the defensive. One Ukrainian battalion said Sunday that it had pushed Russian troops all the way back to the country's border.

Newsweek reached out to Russia's Defense Ministry for confirmation of the attempted sneak attack on the Sumy region.

Russians Fail at Sneak Attack
An attempt by Russian forces to cross into Ukraine's Sumy region on Monday failed, according to the head of the Sumy Regional State Administration. Above, a Ukrainian tank moves toward a front-line position on May 7 in the Dnipropetrovsk region. John Moore/Getty Images

After failing to capture the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv in the war's first phase, Russian forces switched their focus to the Donbas region in eastern Ukraine, where pro-Russia separatists are occupying the Donetsk and Luhansk territories.

The ISW's campaign assessment on Sunday said that Russian forces have "likely abandoned" their goal of conducting a large-scale encirclement, from the city of Donetsk to Izium, of Ukrainian units. Instead, they are likely focusing on seizing the Luhansk region, the ISW said.

"Luhansk Oblast Administration Head Serhiy Haidai said that the Russian military command likely understands that it will not be able to seize Donetsk Oblast but believes that it has the capacity to reach the administrative borders of Luhansk Oblast. His observations are generally consistent with our analysis," the assessment said.

"The Russian military command will likely prioritize the Battle of Severodonetsk going forward, with some efforts dedicated to disrupting Ukrainian ground lines of communication (GLOCs) in eastern Donetsk Oblast," the ISW added. The city of Severodonetsk is in Luhansk.

The Sunday assessment also said that Russian forces are likely working to fortify occupied settlements in southern Ukraine, "indicating that the Russians are seeking to establish permanent control in the region."

"Ukrainian officials reported that Russian forces began digging trenches and building concrete revetments in unspecified areas of Mykolaiv and Kherson Oblast, near Melitopol, and in western Zaporizhia Oblast," the ISW said.

The Twitter page for Russia's Defense Ministry has not posted any updates on the war since April 26. Newsweek was not able to access the ministry's website to view any updates.

Anatoly Antonov, the Kremlin's ambassador to the U.S., recently told the Soloviev Live TV channel that Russia is "confident that all the goals set by the supreme commander-in-chief before our armed forces will be completely attained."

"We will never give up, won't back up," he added.

Newsweek reached out to the defense ministries of Russia and Ukraine for comment.