Russia’s invasion remains ‘reduced’ while Kremlin may be making ‘false claims of success’, says UK
Ukrainian forces have refocused defences in the eastern regions of Luhansk and Donetsk after Russian troops withdrew from the offensive in Kyiv.
Despite that, Moscow claims Russian forces have taken control of Lysychansk, the last major Ukrainian-held city in Luhansk.
In its latest intelligence update, however, the Ministry of Defence has warned Russia may be “falsely” claiming success in parts of Ukraine in order to reinforce morale among its troops.
The defence update read: “Russian offensive operations remain reduced in scope and scale, with fighting west of Lysychansk focussed on Siversk and Bakhmut.
“This is despite Russian claims to have entered the outskirts of Siversk town earlier in the week.
“Russia has previously made premature and false claims of success. This is likely at least in part aimed at demonstrating success to domestic audiences and to reinforce the morale of the fighting forces.
“Ukrainian defence has been successful in repulsing Russian attacks since Lysychansk was ceded and the Ukrainian defensive line was shortened and straightened.
“This has allowed for the concentration of force and fires against reduced Russian attacks and has been instrumental in reducing Russia’s momentum.”
More than 6,237 civilians have died – including 348 children – and 7,571 have been injured during Vladimir Putin’s war.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has reiterated the UK’s commitment to helping Kyiv defend itself and rebuild with a further £100million in support.
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said the first group of Ukrainian soldiers had recently arrived in the UK as part of a programme to train up to 10,000 new recruits.
Meanwhile, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has demanded Moscow bears the “full responsibility” over the reported death of a British aid volunteer while being detained by Russian-backed separatists in Ukraine.
Paul Urey, 45, from Manchester, died in captivity on Sunday, according to the human rights ombudsperson for the Moscow-supported leadership in Donetsk.
His mother Linda Urey expressed her anger, branding the separatists “murderers”, and asking: “Why did you let him die?”
Russian ambassador to the UK Andrei Kelin was summoned to the Foreign Office to face questioning over what happened to Mr Urey, who was detained near the Ukrainian city of Zaporizhzhia in April.
Daria Morozova, the ombudsperson, branded Mr Urey a “mercenary” and claimed he died in captivity on Sunday of chronic illnesses and stress.
“From our side, he was given the necessary medical assistance despite the grave crimes he committed,” she added.