Russia says it thwarts big attack in Ukraine

Europe International

KYIV, June – Moscow said on Monday it had thwarted a major offensive against its forces in eastern Ukraine, but Ukrainian officials dismissed the report and both sides said the Ukrainian military had advanced elsewhere along the front line.
It was unclear whether the attacks represented the start of Ukraine’s long-heralded counteroffensive against Russia’s invasion, and Ukrainian officials sidestepped questions on the matter.
Russia’s defence ministry said Ukraine had attacked on Sunday morning with six mechanised and two tank battalions in southern Donetsk, where Moscow has long suspected Ukraine would seek to drive a wedge through Russian-controlled territory.
“On the morning of June 4, the enemy launched a large-scale offensive in five sectors of the front in the South Donetsk direction,” the defence ministry said in a statement posted on Telegram at 1:30 a.m. Moscow time (2230 GMT).
“The enemy’s goal was to break through our defences in the most vulnerable, in its opinion, sector of the front,” it said. “The enemy did not achieve its tasks, it had no success.”
Asked to comment, a Ukrainian military spokesperson said: “We do not have such information and we do not comment on any kind of fake.”
Ukrainian deputy defence minister Hanna Maliar said Russian assertions about a Ukrainian counteroffensive were meant to distract attention from losses Moscow is taking around the long-contested eastern city of Bakhmut.
In a Telegram post, Maliar said Ukraine was “shifting to offensive actions” in some areas along the front line but dismissed suggestions this was part of a major operation.
Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba told Reuters on Monday that Ukraine now had enough weapons for a counteroffensive but declined to comment when asked whether it had begun.