Russia and Belarus report that the Ukrainian counteroffensive near Zaporizhzhia has been repulsed. However, Wagner boss Yevgeny Prigozhin doubts this.
Munich/Moscow/Zaporizhzhia - The Ukrainian counteroffensive has been stopped near Zaporizhzhia with significant losses. This is what Russia and its ally Belarus claimed in unison in the Ukraine war this Thursday (8 June).
Ukraine war: Russia and Belarus claim setback of Ukrainian counteroffensive
The alleged figures disseminated by Moscow and Minsk read immensely. But they are highly doubtful. On the one hand, they do not coincide with Western assessments of the course of the counteroffensive of the Ukrainian Armed Forces.
On the other hand, mercenary chief Yevgeny Prigozhin has publicly mocked the alleged losses of Kiev, which were rumored by the Russians. And the Wagner boss has once again sharply attacked the Russian army, as well as the Ministry of Defense.
Russia and Belarus report that the Ukrainian counteroffensive near Zaporizhzhia has been repulsed. Wagner boss Yevgeny Prigozhin, however, doubts this. © IMAGO/Lev Borodin
"Today at 1.30 a.m., the enemy in the Zaporizhzhia region tried to break through our defenses with their 47th brigade, with up to 1500 soldiers and up to 150 armored vehicles," Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said in a public statement on Thursday morning. He went on to say: "In all four directions, the enemy is stopped and is turning back with heavy losses." After a two-hour battle, "the enemy lost 30 tanks, eleven combat vehicles and up to 350 men."
Alexander Lukashenko: Belarusian ruler claims heavy Ukrainian losses
Minsk autocrat Alexander Lukashenko, an ally of Moscow ruler Vladimir Putin, went even further in his figures. "The three days of the 'counteroffensive': what we are observing and the information we received from the Russian president are completely in agreement. Within three days, about three dozen advancing Ukrainian tanks and 120-130 infantry fighting vehicles in action were eliminated, and most terrible, more than 2,100 Ukrainians were killed," he said at a meeting in Minsk with members of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO).
He had always said, Lukashenko explained, according to the Russian state news agency Tass, that the counteroffensive was "a great disinformation. There is no counter-offensive, nor can it be a counter-offensive. But if there is one, it is the result over three days." Prigozhin, in turn, does not believe all this. The Russian Wagner boss said in the online service Telegram that he considers the alleged news from Moscow and Minsk to be implausible.
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"I think Baron Munchausen can sit down again," Prigozhin commented, referring to the eponymous baron of lies and storyteller. He described the reports from Moscow as "wild fantasy. Actually, someone should add up all the figures that Konashenkov provides. I think we have just destroyed the entire planet Earth five times," Prigozhin is quoted as saying. He was alluding to Lieutenant General Igor Yevgenyevich Konashenkov. He is responsible for the Department of Mass Communications at the Russian Ministry of Defense. "1500 people in just one day (...) would be such a massacre," Prigozhin said in his mockery.
Ukrainian counteroffensive: Are Russians retreating after dam breach?
However, the Ukrainian figures differ considerably from those of Moscow - which is not unusual. For example, Russian troops are forced to make a major retreat due to the floods caused by the rupture of the Kakhovka dam in southern Ukraine. The Russian armed forces had to retreat by five to 15 kilometers because of the masses of water in the Kherson region, a Ukrainian military spokeswoman said, according to n-tv. According to the Tagesspiegel, a video probably recorded by Ukrainian soldiers also spread, in which four Russian armored vehicles abandoned after combat operations can be seen. (pm)