Ukraine says dozens of Russians have been killed and rail links cut in southern fighting
- Kyiv says more than 100 Russian soldiers were killed on Friday
- Ukraine says rail links to Kherson via Dnipro have been cut
- UK spy chief says Russia is ‘running out of steam’
- Russia publishes list of Ukrainian prisoners of war killed and wounded
KYIV, July 30 (Reuters) – Ukraine’s military said on Saturday it had killed dozens of Russian soldiers in fighting in the south, including the Kherson region which is at the center of Kyiv’s counteroffensive in this part of the country and a key link in supply lines from Moscow.
Rail traffic to Kherson via the Dnipro River has been cut off, the Southern Military Command said, potentially further isolating Russian forces west of the river from supplies in occupied Crimea and to the east.
South of the town of Bakhmut, which has been cited by Russia as a main target in the eastern region of Donetsk, the Ukrainian military says Russian forces had “partially succeeded” in establishing control of the settlement of Semyhirya storming it from three directions. .
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“He established himself on the outskirts of the settlement,” the army’s evening report said, referring to Russian forces.
British defense and intelligence officials, who have been one of Ukraine’s staunchest allies since Moscow launched its invasion on February 24, described Russian forces as struggling to maintain momentum.
Ukraine has used long-range missile systems supplied by the West to severely damage three bridges over the Dnipro in recent weeks, cutting off the city of Kherson and – in the assessment of British defense officials – leaving the 49th very vulnerable Russian army on the west bank of the river.
Ukraine’s military said more than 100 Russian soldiers were killed and seven tanks destroyed in fighting in the south on Friday.
Writing on Telegram, the first deputy head of the Kherson regional council, Yuri Sobolevsky, told residents to stay away from Russian ammunition dumps, saying: “The Ukrainian army is pouring against the Russians and this is not only the beginning”.
The pro-Ukrainian governor of the Kherson region, Dmytro Butriy, said fighting continued in many parts of the region and that the Berislav district, just northwest of the Kakhovka hydroelectric power station, was particularly affected. .
“In some villages, not a single house was left intact, all infrastructure was destroyed, people live in cellars,” he wrote on Telegram.
Just north of Lysychansk, which Moscow forces captured in early July after weeks of fighting, Ukrainian partisans destroyed a railway junction box near the Russian-held town of Svatove on Friday night, making it more difficult for Moscow to bring ammunition to the front. lines by train, Luhansk regional governor Serhiy Gaidai said in an online post.
Reuters could not independently verify reports from the battlefield.
Officials of the Russian-appointed administration that rules the Kherson region earlier this week dismissed Western and Ukrainian assessments of the situation.
In an intelligence update on Saturday, Britain’s Ministry of Defense said Russia likely established two pontoon bridges and a ferry system to compensate for bridges damaged in the Ukrainian strikes.
Russian-installed authorities in occupied southern Ukraine may have been preparing to hold referendums on joining Russia later this year, and “likely were coercing the population into divulging personal information in order to compile electoral lists,” he added. Read more
On Friday, the British ministry described the Russian government as “increasingly desperate”, having lost tens of thousands of soldiers in the war. The head of Britain’s MI6 foreign intelligence agency, Richard Moore, added on Twitter that Russia is “running out of steam”.
DEATH IN PRISON
Ukraine and Russia have swapped accusations over a missile strike or explosion early Friday that appears to have killed dozens of Ukrainian prisoners of war in the frontline town of Olenivka held by Moscow-backed separatists in the Eastern Province from Donetsk.
The Russian Defense Ministry on Saturday released a list of 50 Ukrainian POWs killed and 73 wounded in what it said was a Ukrainian military attack with a US-made High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) .
Ministry spokesman Lt. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said “all political, criminal and moral responsibility” lay with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, “his criminal regime and Washington supporting them.”
Ukraine’s armed forces have denied responsibility, saying Russian artillery targeted the prison to hide the mistreatment of those held there. Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said Friday that Russia had committed a war crime and called for international condemnation.
Reuters could not immediately verify the various versions of events, but some of the deaths were confirmed by Reuters reporters who visited the prison.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken expressed his condolences in a Friday phone call with Kuleba and said Washington was committed to “holding Russia accountable for atrocities”, the US State Department said.
The UN is ready to send experts to Olenivka to investigate if it gets consent from both sides, UN spokesman Farhan Haq said. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said it was seeking access and had offered to help evacuate the injured.
A charity linked to the Ukrainian Azov regiment said on Telegram that it was not immediately able to confirm or deny the authenticity of the Russian list of those killed and injured.
Ukraine has accused Russia of atrocities against civilians and identified more than 10,000 possible war crimes. Russia denies targeting civilians and committing war crimes.
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Reporting from the offices of Reuters Writing by Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen and David Brunnstrom; Editing by Lincoln Feast, William Mallard and Frances Kerry
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