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Ukraine war latest: Kyiv 'has a chance' to change difficult battlefield situation

by The Kyiv Independent news desk June 5, 2024 11:29 PM 6 min read
Colonel General Oleksandr Syrskyi, commander of Ukraine's Land Forces and Eastern Operational Command, talks to a Ukrainian serviceman.
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Key developments on June 5:

  • Battlefield situation is difficult, but Ukraine 'has chance' to change it, Syrskyi says
  • Ukraine has used US weapons to hit targets inside Russia, source tells AP
  • Russia still hasn't restored ferry crossing in Crimea after Ukraine's recent strike, military says
  • Over 800 children killed due to Russia's war in Ukraine since 2014
  • Russian attacks on Kherson, Donetsk oblasts kill 1, injure 7

The situation on the battlefield in Ukraine's east remains difficult, but Ukrainian soldiers can shift it to their advantage by doing “everything possible,” Commander-in-Chief of Ukraine's Armed Forces Oleksandr Syrskyi said on June 5.

Russia is continuing to push on the Kurakhove, Pokrovsk, Kupiansk, and Kharkiv sectors, Syrskyi said after visiting the eastern front.

In other directions, Moscow's troops are reportedly carrying out attacks" to stretch the active front line," to grind down Ukrainian troops and prevent them from deploying to other areas.

Russian forces launched a new offensive on May 10 in Kharkiv Oblast, where they reportedly managed to advance as far as 10 kilometers (6 miles) before Ukraine halted the offensive near the first line of defense.

Russia advanced toward the villages of Hlyboke and Lyptsi in the region, as well as the town of Vovchansk in Kharkiv Oblast and the area near Chasiv Yar, an elevated town that potentially opens the way to further advances into Donetsk Oblast.

“In Vovchansk, our main task at this stage is to hold back the enemy, inflict maximum losses and gradually move forward to liberate our territories,” the commander said.

Heavy fighting is also ongoing near the town of Kupiansk in Kharkiv Oblast, where Russian troops are trying to break through Ukraine's defense from two directions, Syrskyi said.

The general said his task is to provide this sector with sufficient ammunition and combat-ready reserves. Commanders of Ukrainian units are "fully aware of the situation" and are "skillfully" using all types of weapons, including attack drones, according to Syrskyi.

“Our task is to stop the enemy and force them to go on the defensive,” Syrskyi said.

"Despite the difficult situation, we have a chance to change the situation in our favor. And the defense forces are doing everything possible to do so."

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Ukraine has used US weapons to hit targets inside Russia, source tells AP

Ukraine's armed forces have used U.S.-supplied weapons to strike targets inside Russia, the Associated Press (AP) reported on June 5, the first such confirmation since the White House partially lifted a ban on such actions last week.

Citing a Western official speaking anonymously, AP said the attack had happened in "recent days" but gave no further information.

Washington gave Ukraine permission to use some American weapons to strike targets in Russia across the border from both Kharkiv and Sumy oblasts, U.S. and Ukrainian officials confirmed on May 31.

According to the Institute for the Study of War (ISW), Ukraine hit a Russian S-300/400 air defense battery in Belgorod Oblast "likely with HIMARS on June 1 or 2."

"The S-300/400 air defense system was located roughly 60 kilometers from the current frontline in northern Kharkiv Oblast and over 80 kilometers from Kharkiv City, which is within the range of HIMARS but exceeds the range of other MLRS systems that Ukrainian forces reportedly use to conduct strikes into Belgorod Oblast," the ISW added.

Ukrainian officials have not commented on the strike.

Russia still hasn't restored ferry crossing in Crimea after Ukraine's recent strike, military says

Russia has not resumed operations at the Kerch ferry crossing in occupied Crimea after Ukraine's attack in late May, Dmytro Pletenchuk, a spokesperson for the Southern Defense Forces, told Suspilne on June 5.

The Ukrainian military reportedly struck the ferry crossing in occupied Kerch with U.S.-provided long-range ATACMS missiles overnight on May 30. Two Russian ferries were “significantly damaged,” according to Ukraine's General Staff.

"As of now, there is no information that they (Russia) have resumed operations. And it is unlikely to happen. Of course, they can bring some ferries from somewhere else. They have inland water connections to the Caspian Sea, and even to the Baltic Fleet. But it is not a fact," Pletenchuk said.

Moscow "actively used" the ferry crossing to supply Russian troops in the occupied peninsula and defended it with Russian Pantsir, Tor, and Triumph air defense systems, the Ukrainian military said.

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Over 800 children killed due to Russia's war in Ukraine since 2014

More than 800 children have been killed since the beginning of Russia's war in Ukraine in 2014, including at least 551 killed during the full-scale invasion, Prosecutor General Andrii Kostin said on June 4 on national television.

At least 1,368 children were also injured due to the all-out war, according to Kostin.

Russia's war of aggression has taken a staggering toll on Ukraine's civilian population.

The U.N. said in April that it had recorded almost 11,000 civilians killed and over 20,500 injured. The actual number is likely higher, as Russia prevents independent monitoring in the occupied areas that suffered the heaviest destruction, like Mariupol.

"The war did not begin in 2022, but in 2014. Since then, Russia has taken the lives of more than 800 Ukrainian children. We do not yet know the real scale of crimes committed in the occupied territories, which we do not have access to," Kostin said.

According to Kostin, 3,800 criminal proceedings are currently underway, while 54 people who committed crimes against children have been identified and announced as suspects.

Russian attacks on Kherson, Donetsk oblasts kill 1, injure 7

Russian forces attacked settlements in Kherson and Donetsk oblasts on June 5, killing one person and injuring seven, local authorities reported.

In Donetsk Oblast, the Russian military struck the village of Pivnichne in the morning, killing one and injuring four people, according to Governor Vadym Filashkin.

Pivnichne is located in the Bakhmut district and lies around 20 kilometers (12 miles) south of Bakhmut, which was captured by Russian forces in May 2023.

All the injured victims received medical help at the scene and were hospitalized afterward. A shop was also damaged in the attack on Pivnichne.

Russian forces carried out another strike with two guided aerial bombs at the town of Selydove in the morning, injuring one person. An enterprise and two cars were damaged.

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