Ukrainian forces recaptured the village of Piatykhatky in the southern Zaporizhzhia region on Sunday, a local occupying Russian official said.

This is one of Ukraine’s first wins on that front since the start earlier this month of the counteroffensive against Russia’s unlawful invasion of the country.

“The enemy’s ‘wave-like’ offensives yielded results, despite enormous losses,” said Russian-installed official Vladimir Rogov on his Telegram channel, Reuters reported.

The U.K. Defense Ministry said on Sunday that “heavy fighting has continued, with the most intense combat focused in Zaporizhzhia Oblast, western Donetsk Oblast, and around Bakhmut,” the devastated town that was captured by Moscow last month. The ministry added that in all these areas, Ukraine “has made small advances,” but that “Russian forces often conduct relatively effective defensive operations.”

“Both sides are suffering high casualties, with Russian losses likely the highest since the peak of the battle for Bakhmut in March,” the U.K. ministry said.

The Ukrainian military also said on Sunday that it had destroyed a “significant” ammunition depot near the Russian-occupied port city of Henichesk in the southern region of Kherson.

Serhiy Bratchuk, a spokesperson for the Odesa military administration, said “our armed forces dealt a good blow in the morning — and a very loud one — in the village of Rykove, Henichesk district, in the temporarily occupied territory of the Kherson region.” He added that “there was a very significant ammunition depot. It was destroyed,” Reuters reported.

POLITICO could not independently verify the information.

Earlier this month, Ukrainian armed forces launched a counteroffensive to try to regain control of occupied territories in the south and east of the country. Russian President Vladimir Putin predicted on Friday that Ukraine had “no chance” of success in this endeavor.

Just as Kyiv’s counteroffensive was starting, the Nova Kakhovka hydroelectric dam in southern Ukraine was blown up, forcing thousands to flee and restraining the pace of potential advancement by the Ukrainian military. Ukraine said on Sunday that the death toll has risen to 16 following the flooding, while Russian officials said 29 people died in territories controlled by Moscow, Reuters reported.

A New York Times investigation published Friday found evidence suggesting that Russian forces could be responsible for the bombing of the dam.

A delegation of African leaders led by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa met with Putin in St. Petersburg on Saturday to try to spur peace talks between Russia and Ukraine.

Putin replied he was ready to review any peace plan proposal, but he poured cold water on the African initiative by listing numerous reasons why the proposed plan wasn’t meeting Russian demands. These include Russia’s right to recognize the independence of the Russian-occupied Donbas region — a red line for Kyiv.

Putin also reiterated his position that Ukraine and its Western allies had started the conflict long before Russia sent its armed forces over the border in February last year, something they deny.

“The special military operation against Ukraine, against the Kiev regime, was launched to ensure the safety of the people of Donbass … Now it is practically a war between Moscow and the collective West,” said Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov, state-controlled TASS news agency reported.


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