VLADIMIR PUTIN suffered a major military setback, after Ukrainian forces wiped out Russian ammunition depots, troops and equipment in a series of lightning strikes.
The devastating attacks were carried out by fighter jets in the Kherson Oblast, where a Ukrainian counteroffensive appears to be once again under way. Despite coming under intense pressure in the Donbas, Ukrainian forces have been able to launch a small counterattack in the south of the country in the past few weeks. Ukraine’s army has enjoyed some success in pushing back Putin’s army in the Kherson Oblast and resumed military operations on Saturday in the north west of the region, after a short pause to its campaign.
In its latest bulletin, Ukraine’s army claimed to have inflicted significant damage on the Russian invaders.
Its Operational Command South reported that Ukrainian fighter jets had destroyed three ammunition depots, 13 Russian soldiers and six units of enemy equipment.
Kherson City Council said Ukraine’s army was conducting attacks within 40 km of Kherson City, including near the village of Kyselivka.
Analysts at the Institute for the Study of War noted that a successful counterattack on Kyselivka ‘would place Ukrainian forces just 15 km north of the northern boundary of Kherson City”.
The port city was one of the first to fall in the opening days of the war, after offering little resistance to Putin’s army.
A top intelligence officer was reportedly stripped of his rank, while locals questioned why a bridge in the village of Chonhar had not been blown up.
It is believed this would have severely hindered the Russian offensive.
An adviser to President Zelensky later told Ukrainian TV that the country had “f*cked up” its defense of the key southern port.
Oleksiy Arestovych said: “Who, what and how – yes, we will sort it out, and law enforcement agencies are sorting it out, too.
“Because the biggest question is where there was incompetence and where there was treason.”
It comes amid growing fears that Ukraine is running out of ammunition, as fierce battles continue to rage in the Donbas and across the south.
Vitaly Kim, the governor of the Mykolaiv region on the southern frontline, told the AFP news agency that Ukraine was running low on artillery shells.
He added the fighting was now a “war of artillery”, in which the Russians enjoyed a clear advantage over the Ukrainians.
The governor urged Western leaders to speed up their delivery of long range weapons and ammunition to help Ukraine strike back.
He said: “The help of Europe and America is very, very important.”
Ukraine’s deputy head of military intelligence made similar comments in an interview with The Guardian’s Isobel Koshiw.
Vadym Skibitsky told the journalist: “This is an artillery war now and we are losing in terms of artillery.
“Everything now depends on what [the west] gives us. Ukraine has one artillery piece to 10 to 15 Russian artillery pieces.
“Our western partners have given us about 10 per cent of what they have.”