Russia’s Defense Ministry claimed on Tuesday it had killed more than 70 “terrorist saboteurs” amid conflicting reports about the fate of anti-Kremlin, Russian militia volunteers who have seized several villages on the Russian side in recent days. of the border.
Deputy Chairman of the Russian Security Council, Dmitry Medvedev, called the volunteers “bastards”, adding that “it is enough to exterminate them like the rats that they are and not even to take them prisoner”.
On Monday, the Free Russian Legion and the Russian Volunteer Corps released a video indicating that they had entered Russia and taken control of neighboring villages. “The Legion is going home,” gunmen said in one of the videos. On Tuesday, the Legion posted a message on Telegram saying they had freed up more territory and were moving forward.
The Russian Defense Ministry, however, said on Tuesday that the “saboteurs” had been pinned down and defeated by airstrikes and artillery fire. “The remnants of the nationalists were pushed back into Ukrainian territory, where they continued to be hit by fire until they were completely eliminated,” the ministry said on Telegram.
The ministry claimed that more than 70 saboteurs had been killed and four armored fighting vehicles destroyed. He dismissed the attacks as a Ukrainian ruse to distract from what Russia claims was Bakhmut’s downfall over the weekend.
⋅ Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy visited naval infantry troops on the front line to mark the annual Day of Ukrainian Marines.
⋅ Several countries, including Poland, have already started training Ukrainian pilots in the use of American-made F-16 fighter jets, European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said. said. President Joe Biden said last week that the United States would train Ukrainian pilots.
Hungarian leaders say Ukraine is doomed
Ukrainian Foreign Ministry spokesman Oleg Nikolenko strongly rejected Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s claim that Ukraine is doomed to lose the war. Speaking at the Qatar Economic Forum on Tuesday, Orban said Ukraine’s military effort is doomed and sending more aid will only lead to more deaths.
“Emotionally it’s tragic, all our hearts are with the Ukrainians,” Orban said.
Nikolenko recalled that before the start of the war, some European politicians claimed that Ukraine had no chance of holding out for more than 72 hours.
“They were wrong then, and they are wrong now,” Nikolenko said. “Unlike the supporters of surrender to the enemy without resistance, the Ukrainians will continue to fight until the complete liberation of their territories from Russian occupation.”
Russian media celebrate Bakhmut’s disputed ‘victory’
Russian TV and tabloids on Tuesday celebrated with ecstasy the Kremlin’s claim that the eastern Ukrainian town of Bakhmut had fallen, comparing the disputed victory to the liberation of Berlin by the Red Army in 1945 .
President Vladimir Putin’s congratulatory statement to the troops was prominently displayed, and announcers highlighted the victory using the city’s former Soviet name, Artyomovsk. This despite the Ukrainian army’s claim that it retains a small part of the city and has recaptured villages to the north and south – and may soon encircle the battered and nearly deserted city which before the war was home to more than 70,000 people.
“The myth that Artyomovsk is an impregnable fortress has been shattered,” said the presenter of Channel One, Russia’s most popular state broadcaster. “These are historic events.”
Footage showed Russian fighters shouting “Victory!” and placing the Russian tricolor and the black flag of private military contractor Wagner atop a badly damaged high-rise building. Wagner’s forces waged the months-long campaign to seize the city, and their leader Yevgeny Prigozhin declared that his troops would leave the city to be occupied by Russian Ministry of Defense forces. These forces have already struggled to hold the ground taken by Wagner.
Contribute: The Associated Press