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“Science Fiction”: Russia’s Mercenary Arm Slams Moscow’s Big Ukraine Attack

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'Science Fiction': Russia's Mercenary Arm Slams Moscow's Ukraine Strike Claim

Russia has said that Ukraine forces have begun a major offensive in Donetsk.

Moscow said on Tuesday it had thwarted another major offensive by Ukraine in Donetsk, destroying military equipment and inflicting huge personnel losses, a statement that the powerful head of Russia’s Wagner mercenary group dismissed as “absurd science fiction.”

Russia’s defence ministry said that its forces had repelled Ukraine’s second major offensive in two days, destroying, among other military equipment, eight main battle Leopard tanks supplied to Ukraine by its Western allies and 109 armoured vehicles.

It also said that total Ukrainian losses amounted to 1,500 troops.

There was no immediate comment from Kyiv about Russia’s assertions and Reuters was not able to verify the claims. Both sides have often made claims of inflicting heavy human losses on each other which could not be independently verified.

Yevgeny Prigozhin, whose Wagner Group spent months fighting in Bakhmut and who has frosty relations with Moscow, cast doubt on the defence ministry statement, however.

To kill that many people would require daily gains of 150 kilometres, he said in remarks published on the Telegram channel of his press service.

“I therefore believe that this is simply wild and absurd science fiction,” said Prigozhin.

Totting up the figures provided by the ministry would imply “we have already destroyed the entire planet five times over,” he added sarcastically.

Prigozhin has frequently clashed with Moscow’s defence establishment over the conduct of Russia’s campaign in Ukraine and what he says is insufficient support being provided to his Wagner soldiers.

Russia has said that Ukraine forces have begun a major offensive in the southern region of Donetsk, although it is unclear if Ukraine’s long-anticipated counteroffensive has begun.

Kyiv pressed on for the second day in row, the Russian defence ministry said on its Telegram channel on Tuesday.

“Having suffered heavy losses the day before, the Kiev regime reorganized the remnants of the 23rd and 31st mechanized brigades into separate consolidated units, which continued offensive operations,” the ministry said, adding that “a complex fire defeat” had been inflicted.

Ukrainian officials have made no mention of any broad, significant new campaign and sidestepped questions on the matter on Monday.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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