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Russian troops have begun to strengthen their positions in key cities and areas within the south of Ukraine as they put together for an anticipated Ukrainian counteroffensive, even because the Kremlin’s forces press their onslaught within the Donbas area within the east.

The British Protection Ministry mentioned on July 17 that Russia was shifting troops and gear between Kherson, Mariupol, Melitopol, and Zaporizhzhya, the place Russia occupies Europe’s largest nuclear plant.

“Given the pressures on Russian manpower, the reinforcement of the south while the battle for the Donbas continues signifies the seriousness with which Russian commanders view the risk,” the British assertion mentioned.

The feedback come the identical day that Britain’s high navy commander, Admiral Tony Radakin, advised the BBC in an interview that Russia had misplaced some 50,000 killed or wounded troopers in its invasion and that just about 1,700 tanks have been destroyed.

He cautioned, although, that any hypothesis the setbacks would result in the fast downfall of Russian President Vladimir Putin was “wishful pondering.”

A Ukrainian navy official, in the meantime, mentioned Russia was making ready for the following stage of its offensive in Ukraine following orders from Moscow to step up navy operations, with a most important objective of absolutely capturing the japanese Donetsk and Luhansk areas within the east, referred to as the Donbas, however with assaults occurring within the central, northeast, and south of Ukraine as properly.

“It’s not solely missile strikes from the air and sea,” mentioned Vadym Skibitskiy, a spokesman for Ukrainian navy intelligence. “We are able to see shelling alongside the whole line of contact, alongside the whole entrance line. There may be an lively use of tactical aviation and assault helicopters.

Reside Briefing: Russia’s Invasion Of Ukraine

RFE/RL’s Reside Briefing provides you all the newest developments on Russia’s ongoing invasion, how Kyiv is preventing again, Western navy support, worldwide response, and the plight of civilians and refugees. For all of RFE/RL’s protection of the battle, click on right here.

“There may be certainly a sure activation of the enemy alongside the whole entrance line…. Clearly preparations are actually below means for the following stage of the offensive.”

Kyiv has mentioned in current days that its forces are themselves making ready for a large counteroffensive to reclaim land beforehand misplaced, particularly within the south.

Claims and counterclaims on each side within the battle are tough to instantly confirm.

On July 17, Russian missiles hit industrial and infrastructure services in and close to the strategic southern metropolis of Mykolayiv.

The mayor, Oleksandr Senkevych, mentioned the missiles struck a key shipbuilding heart within the estuary of the Southern Bug River. There was no fast phrase on casualties.

The Ukrainian navy’s Common Workers mentioned on July 17 that Ukrainian troops thwarted Russian makes an attempt to advance towards Slovyansk, the important thing Ukrainian stronghold within the japanese area of Donetsk, and different assaults elsewhere within the area.

Moscow introduced on July 16 that it might step up its navy operations in Ukraine.

Protection Minister Sergei Shoigu gave “directions to additional intensify the actions of models in all operational areas, with a view to exclude the potential of the Kyiv regime launching huge rocket and artillery strikes on civilian infrastructure and residents of settlements in Donbas and different areas,” the Protection Ministry mentioned.

Ukraine says at the least 40 individuals have been killed in Russian shelling of city areas within the final three days.

Russian missiles hit an industrial and infrastructure facility within the metropolis of Mykolayiv in southern Ukraine, Mayor Oleksandr Senkevych mentioned on July 17. There was no fast details about casualties.

Additionally on July 17, kin and native residents attended the funeral of 4-year-old Liza Dmytriyeva within the central Ukrainian metropolis of Vinnytsya.

Liza, who had Down syndrome, was killed in a missile strike on central Vinnytsya on July 14 that killed 24 individuals, in keeping with Ukrainian authorities.

Greater than 200 others have been wounded, together with Liza’s mom, who stays in an intensive-care unit in grave situation.

Three individuals have been killed in a Russian strike within the northeastern city of Chuhuiv within the Kharkiv area, regional Governor Oleh Synyehubov mentioned on July 16.

Talking in his July 16 night handle, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy pledged that his nation would “endure.”

Zelenskiy mentioned Ukraine had “withstood Russia’s brutal blows” and managed to take again among the territory it misplaced for the reason that begin of the battle, and can finally recapture extra occupied land.

A Ukrainian official recommended that Crimea, which many of the world nonetheless acknowledges as a part of Ukraine however was annexed by Russia in 2014, might be a goal for U.S.-made HIMARS missiles, not too long ago not too long ago obtained and deployed by Kyiv.

“If another state, be it Ukraine or NATO international locations, believes that Crimea shouldn’t be Russian, then this can be a systemic risk for us,” former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev mentioned on July 17. Any outdoors assault on the area will immediate a “Judgment Day” response, he mentioned.

On the diplomatic entrance, the European Union was set to debate a tightening of sanctions towards Russia on July 18.

Brussels is predicted to carry preliminary sanctions discussions, however not make a same-day determination, a senior EU official was quoted as saying by AFP.

With reporting by Reuters and AFP

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