Ukraine’s military says it killed an estimated 800 Russian soldiers on Wednesday alone, during fighting in the eastern Donetsk region, even as Western allies pledged supplies of armoured battle vehicles .
Giving its regular morning roundup of the fighting, Ukraine’s military said on Thursday, January 5, that Russian forces were focused on an offensive in the Bakhmut area and its attacks in the Avdiivka and Kupiansk sectors were unsuccessful.
The Ukranian military said more than 800 Russian soldiers, one aircraft, a helicopter and three tanks were destroyed over the past day.
It also reported an unspecified number of civilian casualties as a result of Russian air, missile and rocket attacks on the Ukrainian-held city of Bakhmut and two other cities in the Donetsk region.
A senior U.S. administration official on Wednesday gave a sobering assessment of fighting in the Donetsk region, especially around Bakhmut.
“The fighting is still quite hot … what we’re seeing in Bakhmut we should expect to see elsewhere along the front that there will be continued fighting in the coming months,” the official said.
In his Wednesday evening video address, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said Ukrainian troops outside Bakhmut were inflicting numerous losses on their adversaries and Russia was building up its forces in the region.
Ukrainian Deputy Defence Minister Hanna Malyar, citing his ministry’s main intelligence directorate, wrote on the Telegram app that Russia is experiencing significant losses and would likely have to announce a another partial mobilisation in the first quarter of the year.
On Wednesday, French President Emmanuel Macron told Zelenskiy France would send light AMX-10 RC armoured combat vehicles to help the war effort, a French official said on Wednesday after the two leaders spoke by telephone.
While the official said these would be the first Western armoured vehicles delivered to Ukraine, Australia has given Kyiv 90 of its Bushmaster vehicles, an armoured unit hardened against landmines and other threats.
President Joe Biden then added on Wednesday that the United States was considering sending Bradley Fighting Vehicles to Ukraine,
The Bradley armoured vehicle, which has a powerful gun, has been a U.S. Army staple to carry troops since the mid-1980s. The U.S. Army has thousands of them, and they would give Ukraine more firepower on the battlefield and strengthen its ability in trench warfare.
Zelenskiy thanked Macron for the announcement and said it showed the need for other allies to provide heavier weapons.
“This is something that sends a clear signal to all our partners. There is no rational reason why Ukraine has not yet been supplied with Western tanks,” he said.
The United States is preparing another package of weapons, which could be announced in coming days on top of about $21.3 billion in security assistance so far to Ukraine.
Russia launched its “special military operation” on Feb. 24, citing threats to its security and a need to protect Russian speakers. Ukraine and its allies accuse Russia of an unprovoked war to seize territory.