Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is said to have said in a video address that the country’s troops have recaptured 1,015 sites. Ukraine’s defense ministry said on Saturday that Russia has lost 200 aircraft since the invasion.
Mr Zelensky is quoted in Ukrainian media outlet NV as saying: “We continue to restore the occupied territories of Ukraine.
“As of today, 1,015 settlements have been evacuated, including six in the last 24 hours.
“We are restoring electricity, water, communications, transport and social services there. This is important.”
The Ukrainian Defense Ministry estimated the total loss of Russian troops at 27,200 in its latest briefing. express.co.uk has not been able to independently verify any of the figures.
No reliable estimates have been made of the extent of Russia’s losses since the February 24 invasion.
The figures come as Ukrainian forces launched a counter-offensive near the Russian-occupied city of Izium in eastern Ukraine, according to a regional governor.
It could be a serious setback for Moscow’s plans to take the entire Donbas region.
Regional Governor Oleh Sinegubov said in comments on social media: “The most popular place remains the Izium direction.
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Maintaining pressure on Izium and Russia’s supply lines should make it more difficult for Moscow to encircle Ukrainian forces on the eastern front.
Zelensky also said complex talks are underway to find a method to evacuate a large number of wounded soldiers from the besieged Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol in exchange for the release of Russian prisoners of war.
Mariupol, which has seen the heaviest fighting in nearly three months of war, is now in Russian hands, but hundreds of Ukrainian fighters are still holding out at the factory despite weeks of heavy Russian bombing.
The Ukrainian Defense Ministry said on Saturday: “In Mariupol, the enemy continues to block our units near the Azovstal plant. [Russia] inflicts massive artillery and air strikes [and] conducts assault operations.”
It comes amid reports that the bodies of Russian soldiers killed in Ukraine have been taken to a railway yard outside Kiev and piled with hundreds of others in a refrigerated train.
They should be kept until they can be returned to their families.
Volodymyr Lyamzin, the chief civil-military liaison officer, said: “Most of them came from the Kiev region, there are also some from the Chernihiv region and also from other regions.”
He added that refrigerated trains stationed in other regions of Ukraine were being used for the same grim purpose.
Meanwhile, the defense ministry said on Saturday that the Russian-imposed military-civilian administration in Ukraine’s Kherson region said it will ask Russia to include it in the Russian Federation.
In its briefing, released on Twitter, the ministry said that if Russia holds an accession referendum in Kherson, it will almost certainly manipulate the results to show a clear majority for leaving Ukraine.