Ukraine, Russia Both Claim Control of Village Near Bakhmut

Ukrainian forces made progress Saturday in their offensive against Russian troops in the east and south, a military spokesperson said, as the two militaries disputed who controlled the village of Andriivka. 

General Oleksandr Syrskyi, commander of Ukraine’s land forces, posted a video to Telegram showing a scorched, desolate landscape that he said proved his forces had captured the village.  

Andriivka is unrecognizable, a correspondent for Ukraine’s Hromadske radio said. It is “so badly destroyed that soldiers do not even know where to place the pole with the Ukrainian flag,” Yanina Lvutina said on the radio’s website. 

Ukraine considers Andriivka crucial to regaining the nearby, also-destroyed city of Bakhmut. 

Russia’s Defense Ministry disputed Ukraine’s claim to Andriivka. Reuters was unable to verify either battlefield report. 

Meanwhile, airstrike alarms sounded at midday throughout Ukraine as the country’s military warned of the threat of ballistic attacks on population centers, including Kyiv, Chernihiv, Kharkiv, and the Zaporizhzhia, and Odesa regions.  

A series of blasts were reported in the Kharkiv region, although information on casualties or damage was not immediately available.  

Also Saturday, Digital Transformation Minister Mykhailo Fedorov told Reuters that Ukraine’s drone production has increased by more than 100 times since last year.   

Ukraine is also testing artificial intelligence systems, he said, that can detect targets kilometers away, as well as guide drones despite disruptions from electronic warfare measures. 

“There will be more drones, more attacks, and fewer Russian ships. That’s for sure,” he said, noting the recent attacks on Russian naval targets in the Black Sea. 

‘We’ve made significant progress’

In his nightly video address on Saturday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy thanked his nation’s allies for their continued support in the fight against the Russian invasion. 

“This week, we’ve made significant progress in implementing existing defense agreements and other support packages,” he said. 

“Denmark, thank you for the new defense package, which is already the 12th package. Equipment, ammunition, and missiles for our air defense,” he said. “Germany, thank you for the new batch of military aid. Belgium, your participation in our pilot training is approved. Thank you! Norway, your decision to provide additional funding for Ukraine’s recovery. It’s crucial. Thank you!”   

He also singled out the United States and South Korea for their support. 

President Joe Biden will host Zelenskyy in Washington on Thursday in their third meeting at the White House.  

British warn of cruise missiles

Finally, in its daily intelligence update Saturday, the British Defense Ministry warned of the “realistic possibility” that Russia will resume using air-launched cruise missiles against Ukrainian infrastructure targets in the winter.   

The ministry said Russia has likely created a “significant stockpile” of the missiles, since open-source reports indicate that Russia began reducing its use of the missiles in April. 

The report also said the missiles “were at the heart” of most strike missions that Russia launched against Ukraine’s national energy infrastructure between last October and March. They allowed Russia to release munitions “from deep within Russian territory.”  

Some information in this article came from Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, The Associated Press, Agence France-Presse and Reuters. 

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