Ukraine updates: Russia says attack in Donetsk thwarted

It's unclear if the alleged attack was part of Ukraine's long-awaited counteroffensive.

A dilapidated building (photo: DW)
A dilapidated building (photo: DW)


Russia's Defense Ministry said on Monday that its forces thwarted a major Ukrainian offensive in the eastern Ukrainian region of Donetsk.

The ministry said Kyiv had used six mechanized and two tank battalions in the offensive on Sunday. It added that Russian forces killed 250 Ukrainian troops and destroyed dozens of tanks and vehicles.

"The enemy's goal was to break through our defenses in the most vulnerable, in its opinion, sector of the front," said the ministry's spokesman, Igor Konashenkov. "The enemy did not achieve its tasks. It had no success."

Moscow's claims could not be independently verified, and it was unclear whether the alleged attack was part of Ukraine's long-awaited counteroffensive to recapture territories taken by Russia.

Ukranian officials have spoken of a planned counteroffensive for months, but they have not elaborated the scale of such an attack — whether it would be a full-fledged assault across the entire 1,100-kilometer (684-mile) front line, or smaller ones to weaken Russia's forces and facilities.

Here are some of the other developments concerning Russia's war in Ukraine on Monday, June 5:

Pro-Ukraine group says handing Kyiv Russian captives

The pro-Ukraine Russian Volunteer Corps has said they captured several soldiers during a raid in the southern Russian Belgorod region and would hand them over to Ukrainian authorities.

A video released on the Telegram messaging app late Sunday showed what was seemingly a group of around a dozen Russian soldiers being held captive, with two lying on hospital beds.

"We have already decided the fate of these guys. They will be transferred to the Ukrainian side for the exchange procedure," a man could be heard saying in the video clip.

"These Russian men took up arms against their will. Soon they will understand the whole vileness and injustice of the war unleashed by [Russian President Vladimir] Putin," another Corps member who did not identify himself said in the video.

Vyacheslav Gladkov, the governor of the Belgorod region bordering Ukraine, said earlier that he was open to meeting the group if the soldiers were still alive.

The man in the video said Gladkov had not shown up at the designated meeting place.

The group initially said they had captured two soldiers, and later said they took more soldiers throughout the day.

The man in the video said he had just returned from the Russian town of Novaya Tavolzhanka, where Gladkov had earlier reported clashing with what he called a group of "Ukrainian saboteurs."

Russia's Defense Ministry said its forces drove the fighters back into Ukraine.

Kyiv has denied direct involvement in the cross-border attacks.

Belgorod governor says energy facility on fire after attack

The governor of the Russian region of Belgorod said an energy facility was set on fire in the early hours of Monday.

Vyacheslav Gladkov said on Telegram that the "preliminary cause of the fire was an explosive device dropped from a drone,"

"There were no casualties," he said.

An armed incursion into Belgorod last month forced Russia to use its artillery and air force on home soil. Moscow blames Kyiv, while Ukraine denies responsibility.

Reports: Polish fighters involved in fighting in Belgorod

Polish media have reported that mercenaries from Poland were fighting on the side of the Ukrainian army under the name of the Polish Volunteer Corps.

The reports published on the online news portals and referred to the group's own messages on Telegram, as well as a video allegedly showing soldiers on their way to Belgorod.

Polsat said the Polish Volunteer Corps was working together with the Russian Volunteer Corps.

Wagner chief Prigozhin accuses Russia of mining retreat routes

Yevgeny Prigozhin, the head of the Russian mercenary group Wagner, accused the regular Russian army of mining a route that his fighters had wanted to drive on out of Bakhmut.

Prigozhin also published a document that he claimed was an operation log from mid-May, which mentions exchanges of fire between Wagner fighters and Russian soldiers.

The Wagner chief had made similar accusations in recent days, the latest in a public spat with the Defense Ministry in Moscow.

Russia evading sanctions on weapons: Zelenskyy

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in his nightly video address on Sunday that Moscow was evading international sanctions by using a network of suppliers.

The sanctions were intended to stop Russia from making missiles and other weapons.

"Unfortunately, the terrorist state manages to use the technologies of the world through a network of suppliers, manages to bypass international sanctions," Zelenskyy said.

Zelenskyy did not name the countries that he claimed were helping Moscow.

In April, an aide to Zelenskyy said Ukraine's army was finding a growing number of components from China in Russian weapons used in Ukraine. Beijing denies sending arms to its key ally Moscow.

More DW coverage

Although Russia may be bluffing with its new offensive, it's crucial for Western cohesion that Ukraine retake its south — particularly if Donald Trump were to make a comeback, says political scientist Francis Fukuyama.

At an event near Berlin, crowds angry at Germany's military support for Ukraine chanted, "Warmonger!" as German Chancellor Olaf Scholz took the stage. Scholz responded in an unusual, defensive tone. Watch DW's report on the incident:

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