Ukraine Launches Bold Counter Offensive Liberating 20 Towns

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Hennadiy Lahuta, the governor of the Kherson region in Ukraine, says Ukraine’s forces have “liberated more than 20 settlements in the north of Kherson Oblast, which is largely occupied by Russia,” as The Kyiv Independent summarizes. Per the governor, Ukrainian forces are continuing their southward advance in the region.

Screenshot-2022-06-04-11.22.29-AM Ukraine Launches Bold Counter Offensive Liberating 20 Towns Military Politics Top Stories

In another recent battlefield success against Russia for Ukraine, retired Russian Air Force Major General Kanamat Botashev was recently shot down in Ukraine’s Luhansk region, which Russian forces are attempting to completely seize (as they’re hoping to do with Ukraine’s Donetsk region). Per Ukrainian numbers, Botashev is the 13th Russian general to die amid Putin’s war against Ukraine. As The Daily Beast summarized, the “BBC’s Russian service said it managed to confirm Botashev’s death by speaking with several men who had previously been under his command and stayed in touch with him.” Botashev might have been in Ukraine in association with the Wagner group, a paramilitary organization that’s been tied to the Russian government. Rob Lee, with the Foreign Policy Research Institute, said in reference to Botashev it “appears he was flying for Wagner.”

Ukrainian forces have stopped Russian troops from taking control of Kyiv and Kharkiv, Ukraine’s capital and second-largest city, respectively, and the focus of ground-level fighting has now shifted towards elsewhere in the country. Severodonetsk, a large city of over 100,000 people (prior to the war), has recently become a particularly high-profile flashpoint for the conflict. “Ukrainian forces fighting hard for Severodonetsk, injecting reinforcements in a counteroffensive that has pushed back Russian troops in heavy urban fighting,” journalist Neil Hauer said in a weekend post. “Expect combat here to reach even greater levels in the next week.”

Overall, Ukraine claims to have killed more than 31,000 Russian troops throughout the months of fighting on its territory against Putin’s military forces. Other Russian losses reported by Ukraine include 1,376 tanks, 3,379 combat armored vehicles, 680 artillery systems, and more. Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says over 200,000 Ukrainian children have been forcibly relocated to Russia since the current conflict began, remarking that the point, in part, is to “make deportees forget about Ukraine and not be able to return.” Inside Ukraine, impacts on civilians remain devastating — per The Guardian, “a person among several coordinating burials in [Mariupol]… said they believed the [death toll] was closer to 50,000.” That’s just in Mariupol, which Russian forces control. President Biden recently signed $40 billion worth of additional aid connected to the war in Ukraine that’s meant to cover anticipated needs through this coming September. It’s unclear at this point, of course, when the conflict might end.