According to the White House, the ongoing war of attrition in Ukraine’s Donetsk region has led to 100,000 casualties, including 20,000 deaths among Russians. The number was derived from newly declassified US intelligence, although no details on the method used to arrive at the estimate were given. Half of those killed were mercenaries from the Wagner Group, which recruits many members from Russia’s prison population as reported by Aljazeera. The Ukrainian army is preparing for a new counteroffensive against Moscow’s forces, battling for control of the last road in Ukrainian hands. Despite these efforts, Russia has failed to seize any strategically significant territory. The spokesperson declined to offer estimates of Ukrainian casualties.
As Ukraine gears up for a renewed counteroffensive to reclaim land occupied by Russia, Moscow launched a second wave of nationwide missile strikes. Ukrainian air defences destroyed 15 of the 18 missiles launched by Russia, but two people were killed and 40 others injured in Pavlohrad.
A 14-year-old boy was also killed close to his school when a bomb hit it in the Chernihiv region. Ukraine is expected to launch a counteroffensive soon, with the fire that destroyed a Russian fuel depot in Crimea over the weekend believed to be a preparatory move. In addition, an explosion derailed a freight train in the Russian Bryansk region bordering Ukraine, and multiple attacks by pro-Ukrainian sabotage groups have also occurred.
Pope Francis revealed that the Vatican is engaged in a secret peace mission to end the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. Although he did not provide details on the mission, the Pope stated that opening channels is key to achieving peace and that the situation in Ukraine was discussed with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and Metropolitan Hilarion, a bishop representing the Russian Orthodox Church in Budapest.
Photo: Twitter / @Oleksii Reznikov