As Ukraine defends in the east and south, a US official says Russia’s war effort is failing.


The Ukrainian army repelled attempts at Russian advance into eastern Ukraine and crushed critical Russian logistics hubs overnight as Russia continued to bomb villages and towns along its 400-mile frontline.

Ukraine made small but steady gains in the southern region of Kherson, a port city in the south where thousands of Russian soldiers are now largely isolated after Ukrainian attacks on key supply routes.

A senior US Department of Defense official acknowledged the progress at a news conference on Friday and said there was mounting evidence that massive Russian losses had left some units ill-prepared for combat.

The official described Russia’s recent efforts as a failure, both on the battlefield and at home, where Moscow’s rhetoric about its ambitions in Ukraine has become more bombastic in recent days. Senior Kremlin officials have spoken about regime change in Kiev, and Russia’s Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev posted a map on his Telegram channel depicting a Ukraine engulfed by Russia and its neighbors.

Although Russian forces are trying to penetrate deeper into the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine, they have failed to breach the Ukrainian defenses, according to Ukrainian and Western officials.

“Throughout July, the occupiers tried to storm the Donetsk region,” Serhii Haidai, the head of the military administration in neighboring Luhansk province, said in a statement. But unlike the advance of the Russians in the spring and early summer, when they could use their significant artillery advantage to flatten areas before advancing, Mr Haidai said the destruction of Russian ammunition depots by the Ukrainians “is much had made it more difficult for them to replenish and maneuver weapon stocks.”

Still, he said, Russian forces continued to destroy settlements, using barrel and jet artillery. At least six civilians were killed and 15 others injured by Russian shelling in the Donetsk region on Friday, local Ukrainian officials said.

According to Vitalii Kim, the local governor, at least one civilian on the southern front in the port city of Mykolaiv was killed when a Russian missile hit a high-rise building overnight.

Residents of Nikopol – a town across the Dnipro River from the Russian-controlled area around the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant – have endured another night of heavy shelling. The attack hit more than a dozen residences and caused widespread power outage, according to local officials.

The Ukrainians have accused the Russians of using the nuclear power plant as a military base, on the assumption that the Ukrainians will not shoot at it given the risks. But Ukrainian officials on Saturday said their country’s military had hit Russian positions in the city where the factory is located, Enerhodar.

“It was literally very hot in Enerhodar,” the exiled mayor of the city, Dmytro Orlov, said in a statement. He said three units of Russian military equipment parked at the entrance of a local hotel had been destroyed.

While the Russians worked to restore a vital bridge over the Dnipro River further south near the city of Kherson, the Ukrainians said it remained impassable and Russian troops stationed on the west side of the river largely isolated from supplies and support.

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