Russia turning 'irrational' with nuclear plant threat
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The reason for the slow movement is that they are struggling to recruit enough troops to push on with the invasion. In the most successful assault, towards the city of Bakhmut in the Donetsk region, the Kremlin’s forces managed to progress six miles in 30 days, the Ministry of Defence said.
The MoD said in its latest update today that over the weekend Russia had continued to focus efforts on reinforcing defences in southern Ukraine.
Despite this, it maintained attacks on Ukrainian positions in Donetsk.
The MoD said: “Over the last 30 days, Russia’s assault towards the town of Bakhmut has been its most successful axis in the Donbas; however, Russia has only managed to advance about 10km during this time.
“In other Donbas sectors where Russia was attempting to break through, its forces have not gained more than 3km during this 30 day period; almost certainly significantly less than planned.
“Despite its continued heavy use of artillery in these areas, Russia has not been able to generate capable combat infantry in sufficient numbers to secure more substantial advances.”
Russia has suffered an estimated 70,000 to 80,000 casualties since the invasion began on February 24, according to Pentagon figures.
Colin Kahl, the Defence Department’s undersecretary for policy, said in a briefing on Monday: “The Russians are taking a tremendous number of casualties.
“There’s a lot of fog in war but I think it’s safe to suggest that the Russians have probably taken 70,000 or 80,000 casualties in less than six months.
“Now, that is a combination of killed in action and wounded in action and that number might be a little lower, a little higher, but I think that’s kind of in the ballpark.”
The figure is higher than previous US and UK estimates.
On July 20, William Burns, director of the CIA, said the US estimated that Russian casualties in Ukraine had reached about 15,000 killed and perhaps 45,000 wounded.
Ben Wallace, the UK’s Defence Secretary, said at the end of June that 25,000 Russians had been killed in Ukraine since the start of Putin’s invasion.
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Meanwhile, heavy fighting was reported today in frontline towns near the eastern city of Donetsk where Ukrainian officials said Russian troops were launching waves of attacks as they tried to seize control of the industrialised Donbas region.
Pavlo Kyrylenko, governor of the Donetsk region, told Ukrainian television: “The situation in the region is tense — shelling is constant throughout the front line . . . The enemy is also using air strikes a great deal.
“The enemy is having no success. Donetsk region is holding.”
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