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Russia has made no “big gains” in Ukraine’s counterattack, Britain says

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The United States has made no “significant” gains in Ukraine in the last 24 hours when Kiev forces counterattacked Vladimir Putin’s attackers, British defense officials said on Saturday.

They said Russia’s air and naval forces had failed to gain control and that heavy fighting was continuing in Mariupol – despite claims by the Kremlin last week that it had conquered the southern port city.

The Defense Ministry chiefs said in their latest intelligence update on Saturday morning: “Despite increased activity, Russian forces have not made any major gains over the past 24 hours as Ukrainian counterattacks continue to hinder their efforts.

“Russia’s air and naval forces have not established control in any of these areas due to the effectiveness of Ukraine’s air and naval defense, which reduces their ability to make significant progress.

“Despite the fact that their states have conquered Mariupol, heavy fighting continues, thwarting Russia’s attempts to conquer the city, further slowing their desired advance on the Donbas.”

The hours come after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky warned that the Russian invasion of his country was just beginning and that Moscow had plans to conquer more countries.

“All nations that, like us, believe in the victory of life over death, must fight with us. They have to help us because we are first in line. And who will come next? “Said Mr. Zelensky in his night video.

Russia’s deputy chief of the Central Military District, Rustam Minnekaev, quoted by Russian state intelligence agencies, said on Friday that full control of southern Ukraine would give her access to Transnistria, a breakaway part of Moldova’s occupied Moldova in the west.

This would cut off the entire Ukrainian coast and mean that Russian forces would be pushing hundreds of miles further west, around the main Ukrainian coastal cities of Mykolaiv and Odessa.

The statement was one of the most detailed about Moscow’s ambitions in Ukraine and suggests that Russia does not plan to end its offensive there any time soon.

The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense said that Mr. Minnevaev’s comments showed that Russia was no longer hiding its intentions.

Volodymyr Zelensky speaks from Kiev in a night video speech on Friday

/ AP

She said on Twitter that Moscow had now “acknowledged that the goal of the ‘second phase’ of the war was not victory over the mythical Nazis, but simply the occupation of eastern and southern Ukraine. Imperialism as it is. “

Moldova’s foreign ministry said it had summoned Moscow’s ambassador on Friday to express “deep concern” over the general’s comments.

He said that Moldova was neutral. Moldova applied to join the European Union last month, signaling a pro-Western course accelerated by Russia’s invasion.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov declined to comment on whether Russia had expanded its goals or how Moscow saw the political future of southern Ukraine.

The EU High Representative said the next few weeks were likely to be crucial. “We will probably see a very significant increase in the intensity of Russian military attacks on the east (and) coast,” he told reporters.

The Ukrainian military said Russia was continuing its offensive operations in the east, seeking full control of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions and securing ground links with Crimea.

Russian forces are also partially blocking the city of Kharkov, according to a Saturday morning update by the Ukrainian General Staff.

87 civilians, including one child, died in the invasion of Mykolaiv, Mayor Oleksandr Senkevich said late on his Facebook page. Almost 400 people were injured. Reports from both sides were not independently verified.

In Geneva, the UN Human Rights Office said there was growing evidence of Russian war crimes, including indiscriminate shelling and mass executions. She said that Ukraine also apparently used weapons with indiscriminate effects.

Russia denies targeting civilians and claims without evidence that signs of atrocities committed by its troops have been falsified.