That’s what the Russian Defense Ministry (MoD) suggested early Monday in announcing that Ukraine began a “large-scale offensive” in mounting attacks along five sections of the frontlines in the eastern Donbas region. But Russia said it thwarted the major attack and that some 250 Ukrainian troops were killed, which included Ukraine sending six mechanized and two tank battalions to Russian-controlled southern Donetsk.
“On the morning of June 4, the enemy launched a large-scale offensive in five sectors of the front in the South Donetsk direction,” the MoD statement began. “The enemy has failed to reach its goals and was unsuccessful.”
t added that in total the attacking forces lost six tanks, three infantry vehicles, and 21 armored vehicles in what would mark a significant defeat if confirmed. “The enemy’s goal was to breach our defenses in what they assumed was the most vulnerable section of the frontline,” the Russian military statement continued.
“During the day, the occupiers made 23 attacks, but all of them were repulsed by units of the defense forces,” the MoD continued, in reference to attacks also along front lines of Luhansk, Zaporizhia and Kherson.
The ministry further specified that Russian Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov “was at one of the forward command posts” at the time of the thwarted attacks.
While Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky just days ago said that his forces stand ‘ready’ to launch a counteroffensive, he made not mention of the alleged assault Sunday night when he gave his nightly video address.
BBC has remained very skeptical of the Russian military narrative, and yet Kiev has admitted some degree of “offensive actions” Sunday into Monday:
But on Monday Ukraine issued a statement denouncing Russian ‘lies’ and propaganda that aims to demoralize and mislead the Ukrainian public, but without directly referencing the specific Kremlin claims of a thwarted counteroffensive.
If the Russian MoD statements prove true, this marks disaster for the Ukrainian military, given a defeat at the very start of the counteroffensive would likely sap morale and momentum, given also already there have been widespread reports that inexperienced and untrained Ukrainians are being sent to the frontlines in droves amid mounting heavy casualties.