Ukraine’s 35th Marine Brigade liberate Urozhaine
The commander of a pro-Russian battalion fighting a desperate rearguard action in a village in eastern Ukraine has delivered a crushing blow to President Vladimir Putin – by admitting his troops “cannot win”.
Alexander Khodakovsky, chief of the self-declared Donetsk People’s Republic’s Vostok Battalion, was speaking at the end of a week in which Kyiv claimed counteroffensive gains on the southeastern front, regaining control of the village of Urozhaine in the Donetsk region on Wednesday.
Speaking in a video uploaded to the instant messaging service Telegram on Thursday, Khodakovsky called for “freezing the front”, saying his troops “cannot win” against Ukraine.
He said: “Can we bring down Ukraine militarily?
“Now and in the near future, no.”
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Overnight into Saturday, Ukraine’s air force said it shot down 15 out of 17 Russian drones targeting northern, central and western regions of the country.
The deputy governor of the western Khmelnytskyi region, Serhii Tiurin, said two people were wounded and dozens of buildings damaged by an attack.
In the northwestern Zhytomyr region, a Russian drone attack targeted an infrastructure facility and caused a fire.
However, no casualties were reported, said Governor Vitalii Bunechko.
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Nevertheless, seven people including a six-year-old girl were killed in a missile strike on the city of Chernihiv in the north of the country.
Meanwhile, in Russia, Putin visited top military officials in the city of Rostov-on-Don near the Ukrainian border.
The Kremlin said that Putin listened to reports from Valery Gerasimov, the commander in charge of Moscow’s operations in Ukraine, and other top military brass at the headquarters of Russia’s Southern Military District.
The exact timings of his visit were not confirmed, but state media published video footage that appeared to be filmed at night, showing Gerasimov greeting Putin and leading him into a building.
The meeting itself was held behind closed doors.
It was Putin’s first visit to the city since the Wagner mercenary group’s attempted mutiny in June, when the group’s fighters briefly took control of the city.
During June’s short-lived revolt, Wagner founder Yevgeny Prigozhin repeatedly denounced Gerasimov, who serves as chief of the general staff of the Russian armed forces, as well as Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu for denying supplies to his fighters in Ukraine.
Prigozhin insisted the uprising was not aimed at Putin but rather at removing Gerasimov and other top brass who he accused of mismanaging the war in Ukraine.
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