The mayor of a city in Ukraine said the efforts of Ukrainian soldiers were causing difficulties for Russian forces ahead of a future counter-offensive.
Ivan Fedorov, the mayor of Melitopol, took to Telegram on Monday morning to say that more than 100 Russian soldiers had been killed in recent attacks using “high precision HIMARS”. [High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems].”
He shared several videos alongside his post that appeared to show the missiles being fired. This comes as the war between Ukraine and Russia approaches the 6-month mark following the decision of the Russian president Vladimir Poutine invade the country.
“Today, high-precision HIMARS missiles were fired at the temporary deployment points of the occupying forces at industrial sites in various districts of the city of Melitopol,” he said in the Telegram message ( translated by Google).
Talk to NewsweekFedorov said one of the targeted Russian bases was a former military airport on the outskirts of the city, while the other was a former factory used as a military warehouse.
He added that the Ukrainian forces were able to discover the location of these bases thanks to partisans in the city.
In his Telegram message, he continued: “According to preliminary estimates, a significant amount of military equipment was destroyed. More than 100 Russian soldiers, who were in temporary barracks that night, received tickets for the concert. from Kobzon, and their parents are already choosing the model and color of the Lada car.”
The phrase buying “tickets for the Kobzon concert” was used by Ukrainian soldiers and officials as a euphemism for Russians killed during the war in reference to Iosif Kobzon, a singer born in Ukraine but popular in Russia. He was nicknamed the “Soviet Sinatra” and died in 2018, considered by some Ukrainians to be a traitor.
The mention of the car refers to an interview in which grieving parents said they bought a Lada with compensation for the death of their son, who was killed in Ukraine, Ukrainian online publication Pravda reported.
Newsweek contacted the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense and the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Moscow has repeatedly claimed to have destroyed the HIMARS systems, but its claims have not been verified and have been dismissed by some Ukrainian and Western officials.
Fedorov added that this attack would prove vital for future counterattacks against Russian forces.
“Last week, the occupiers redeployed a significant part of the air defense from Melitopol to Kherson,” he added.
“Tonight is the most effective and shows that existing enemy air defense units are no longer able to resist HIMARS.
“The weakening of the air defense system creates the necessary prerequisites for a successful counteroffensive in the direction of Melitopol.”
He also added how HIMARS is proving itself in the fight against Russian forces.
“HIMARS helps us a lot. Since HIMARS started working in Ukraine, in Melitopol, we have destroyed many Russian positions,” he said. Newsweek.
Speaking about Russian morale, he added: “They don’t want to go to war. They don’t want to stay in Melitopol.
“They want to come back to Russia but their generals tell them ‘stay, everything will be fine’. But it’s impossible for them to be good in Melitopol.”
As the conflict nears the 6 month mark, there doesn’t seem to be a clear end in sight.
However, a European politician, Nico Lange, a German lawmaker and chief of staff to the country’s federal defense minister, said Russia now faces “enormous” difficulties.
Speaking to German state broadcaster Deutsche Welle (DW) over the weekend, he said the large influx of military aid to Ukraine was changing the dynamics of the Russian invasion.
“The crucial aspect of the past few days is that Russia is now forced to react to Ukrainian statements and actions,” he said.
“Until now it was the other way around; Ukrainians were forced to react to everything Russia did.
Lange went on to say that Russia had “moved significant forces south, to Kherson and Zaporizhzhia,” two regions in southern Ukraine that have mostly fallen under Russian occupation. They have also recently become the focus of major counter-offensives by Ukrainian forces aimed at retaking them.
“A Ukrainian attack will not look like the Russians: this creeping barrage that destroys everything in its path,” Lange said. “On the contrary, it will also rely on partisans, on uprisings in occupied cities, on mobile operations behind enemy lines.”
He added: “The Russians have big problems controlling these areas. There is a lot of partisan activity in the occupied part of Zaporizhzhia Oblast.
“Russian patrols are killed at night. Also in Melitopol, as in Kherson, there are posters directed against the Russian occupiers, there are leaflet campaigns. Something new is constantly posted.”
Russia is now unable to “escalate indefinitely” in Ukraine, Lange said, adding that the Russians face “tremendous” difficulties in continuing the conflict.
Updated 8/8/22 7:23 a.m. ET with additional information