Putin denies Zelenskiy’s claims of counteroffensive success for Ukraine
Vladimir Putin has denied Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s claims of early success in Ukraine’s long-anticipated counteroffensive, which has seen Kyiv’s troops regain some territory, while admitting that Russia had lost 54 tanks in the opening assaults.
In a televised meeting, Russia's president acknowledged losses suffered by his forces but claimed that Ukraine had also lost a significant number of military vehicles, including 160 tanks. He stated that Ukraine's offensive had been countered by Russia's strategic reserves, resulting in their substantial losses. Putin emphasized that Ukraine's losses were approaching catastrophic levels. Putin further alleged that Ukraine had used US rocket launch systems to destroy the Kakhovka dam, hindering their attack plans. While Ukrainian officials blamed Russia for the dam's destruction, international intelligence agencies have not confirmed this. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg informed Joe Biden that Ukraine was making progress in its counteroffensive, which could strengthen their position for future diplomatic negotiations. The Ukrainian Defense Ministry reported the liberation of seven settlements and the capture of 90 sq km in Donetsk. Meanwhile, civilian casualties in Ukrainian cities increased, with a Russian missile striking an apartment block and a food warehouse, resulting in 11 deaths and several injuries. Survivors described the devastation caused by the missile strike. Putin acknowledged concerns regarding attacks by dissident Russian units and drones within Russia, admitting that better preparation was needed. He highlighted the lack of certain resources and equipment during the military operation but did not believe further mobilization was necessary. He also dismissed suggestions of storming Kyiv again.