Putin’s military command centres in Ukraine hit by ‘intensive long-range strikes’ in counterattack, says UK

Putin’s military command centres in Ukraine hit by ‘intensive long-range strikes’ in counterattack, says UK

Vladimir Putin’s military command centres in Ukraine are being hit with “intensive long-range strikes” as his forces are being pushed back by a counterattack, British defence chiefs said on Thursday.

They are stressing that Ukrainian troops are gaining some ground in some areas along the frontline in the south of the country.

In its latest intelligence update, the Ministry of Defence in London said: “Over 30-31 August 2022, Ukrainian Armed Forces continued offensive operations in southern Ukraine, supported by intensive long-range strikes against Russian command and logistics locations across the occupied zone.”

The briefing added: “Ukraine’s Ministry of Defence also released video footage of Ukrainian aircraft operating high speed anti-radiation missiles (HARMs). Russian has previously claimed that it has recovered fragments of these types of weapons, which are designed to locate and destroy radars.

“Russia prioritises strong ground-based air defences - the radar coverage which enables this is a critical capability in its Ukraine operation.

“A substantial, sustained degradation of Russia’s radars with HARMs would be a major set-back to Russia’s already troubled situational awareness.”

Britain, the US, Ukraine and their allies are fighting an information war against Russia so briefings need to be treated with caution, although claims by the Kremlin are often far less believable.

Ukraine’s operational command South said its forces had destroyed a pontoon bridge near the town of Daryivky in the Kherson region, which had been used by the Russian troops to bring in equipment and ammunition.

The general staff of Ukraine’s armed forces also reported early on Thursday fighting near the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant and further afield along front lines in the east and south.

Both sides have claimed battlefield successes amid the fresh Ukrainian push to recapture territory in the south.

“It is a very slow process, because we value people,” said Oleksiy Arestovych, an adviser to President Volodymyr Zelensky, referring to the Ukrainian offensive.

“There will be no quick success.”

Russia captured large tracts of southern Ukraine close to the Black Sea coast in the early weeks of the over six-month-old war, including in the Kherson region, north of the Russian-annexed Crimean Peninsula.

Elsewhere, Ukraine repelled Russian attacks in the direction of Bakhmut and Avdiivka, towns north of the Russian-occupied city of Donetsk, its armed forces’ general staff said.

Pro-Russian troops have focused on Bakhmut in their push to extend control over the Donbas region, Ukraine’s industrial heartland in its east, the general staff added.

Russia has denied reports of Ukrainian progress and said its troops had routed Ukrainian forces.

In the past 24 hours, five civilians in the Donetsk region were killed and 12 were wounded, regional governor Pavlo Kyrylenko said on Telegram messaging app.

Meanwhile, Russian troops were shelling the route of a United Nations mission seeking access to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, Oleksandr Starukh, the head of the Zaporizhzhia region said on Thursday.

The experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency set out from the city of Zaporizhzhia to visit the Russian-occupied nuclear power plant in Ukraine’s south to assess any damage, even as both sides in the conflict reported new shelling in the nearby town of Enerhodar.

The head of the Ukrainian military administration of Nikopol across the Dnipro river from the Zaporizhzhia plant said earlier Russian forces were shelling near the plant to try to give the IAEA the impression that Ukraine was attacking it.

Ukrainian assault troops were spotted by Russian forces near the nuclear plant and are now pinned down by Russian air force, Vladimir Rogov, a local Russian-installed official, said on Thursday.

Russia’s Defence Ministry also claimed there had been an attack on the nuclear plant by up to 60 Ukrainian soldiers.

The Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, Europe’s largest, was captured by Russian forces in March. It remains near the frontlines, and has come under repeated shelling in recent weeks, raising fears of a nuclear disaster.