The White House says it has seen reports that Ukraine Countermeasures have been initiated. John Kirby, communications coordinator for the National Security Council, said he did not want to comment further on specific military actions by Ukraine against Russian forces in southern Ukraine.
Kirby noted, however, that regardless of the size, scale and scope of the latest retaliation, the Ukrainians “have already impacted Russian military capabilities.”
“Because the Russians have had to pull resources out of the east just because of reports that the Ukrainians are pushing further south,” Kirby said. “And so they had to disband some units…in some areas of the east in the Donbass, to respond to what they clearly believed was an increasing threat of a counterattack.”
Kirby also said that Russia is “facing manpower issues” in Ukraine, and that it is increasing the recruitment of its fighters inside Russia, as well as sending some of its conscripts and contract soldiers to serve outside their designated time. Trying to “prepare” for
“Because they’re facing manpower challenges — manpower challenges that are not easy to respond to reports of possible retaliation by the Ukrainians,” Kirby said.
Kirby also said that “the idea of going on a crime spree is not new to Ukrainians.”
“Now I understand that what we’re talking about here is the possibility of a larger counterattack, which is different from committing a crime in a more localized way,” Kirby said. But he said Ukrainian forces had been “carrying the fight with the Russians” inside Ukraine for some time, including in the early months of the battle around the capital Kyiv.
“So, it’s not a new development for them to do that,” Kirby said.
What Russia is saying: Moscow acknowledged Kyiv’s retaliation in southern Ukraine on Monday, but said Ukrainian troops had suffered “heavy losses” and had “failed miserably” in their “efforts”.
The Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement that Ukrainian forces on Monday “attempted to launch a three-pronged offensive in Mykolaiv and Kherson regions”, adding, “as a result of the active defense of a group of Russian troops, armed forces units”. “Ukraine suffered heavy losses.”
During the fighting, 26 Ukrainian tanks, 23 infantry fighting vehicles, nine other armored fighting vehicles were destroyed and two Su-25 attack aircraft were shot down, the ministry said.
“Another attempt at offensive operations by the enemy failed miserably,” he concluded.