Russian forces have lost 37 artillery systems and 13 tanks in a single day, according to Kyiv’s military.
Moscow’s troops have lost a total of 3,640 artillery systems since the outbreak of full-scale war in February 2022, the General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces said in an update on Wednesday.
Artillery has played a crucial role in the operations of both sides throughout the ongoing war in Ukraine, becoming a cornerstone of military aid sent to Kyiv.
The loss of 13 tanks in the previous 24 hours brings Moscow’s total losses to 3,873, per Kyiv’s count. Newsweek could not independently verify these figures from the General Staff and has contacted the Russian Defense Ministry for comment via email.
According to the Dutch open-source outlet Oryx, Russia has lost 2,011 tanks in Ukraine since February 24, 2022. Of this number, 1,246 were destroyed and 544 captured by Ukraine, per the defense analysis website. However, this total only includes visually-verified losses, and the true figure may be higher.
Over 30 combat clashes took place over the last day, the General Staff said, as Ukraine’s long-expected counteroffensive against Russian forces appears to be getting underway.
It also comes as Kyiv and Moscow trade blame for the destruction of a key dam in south Ukraine on Tuesday. Damage to the Kakhovka Hydroelectric Power Plant, on Ukraine’s Dnieper River in the Kherson region, led to “massive flooding” of nearby areas, the Washington-based Institute for the Study of War think tank said on Tuesday.
The destruction of the dam could have “grave and far-reaching consequences for thousands of people,” the U.N.’s aid chief said on Tuesday. People living on either side of the front line in southern Ukraine could face losing their homes, food supply, access to safe water, and their livelihoods, Martin Griffiths, the under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator, told the U.N. Security Council.
Around 80 settlements are within the flood zone, Ukraine’s military said on Wednesday. Around 2,700 houses have been flooded, and 1,300 people evacuated, Russian state media reported on Wednesday.
The water from the reservoir also supplies the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, Europe’s largest nuclear power facility. Under Russian control since the early days of the war, Ukrainian personnel have continued to staff the facility, which has frequently become caught in the front-line fire. The International Atomic Energy Agency, the U.N.’s nuclear watchdog, said that there was no immediate risk to the safety of the facility.
“The destruction of one of the largest water reservoirs in Ukraine is absolutely deliberate,” Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelensky, said in a post to social media on Wednesday. Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said the breach of the dam was “a large-scale act of sabotage planned in advance” by Ukraine.
“We’ve seen the reports that Russia was responsible for the explosion at the dam,” U.S. National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said on Tuesday, adding the U.S. could not conclusively say what caused the destruction.
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