© Stringer/AFP via Getty ImagesA view of the destroyed Fabrika shopping mall in the Ukrainian city of Kherson on July 20.
Over 1,000 Ukrainian service members were killed in a botched operation in the south of the country, Moscow has said

Russian forces have taken out hundreds of Ukrainian troops and dozens of tanks and armored military vehicles after repelling Kiev's ill-fated offensive in southern Ukraine, which was mounted at the personal order of President Vladimir Zelensky, the Defense Ministry claimed on Tuesday.

"The effective actions by the Russian forces destroyed 48 tanks, 46 infantry fighting vehicles, 37 other armored combat vehicles, eight pickups with heavy machine guns and more than 1,200 Ukrainian servicemen in one day," the statement read, adding that Kiev sustained these losses during a botched offensive whose directions led to Nikolaev, Krivoy Rog, and other cities in southern Ukraine.

The ministry went on to say that Moscow's forces routed the units of the 128th Ukrainian Mountain Assault Brigade, which had been redeployed from western Ukraine to take part in the operation. "Five service members from this brigade laid down their arms and gave in," the ministry added.

Russian forces also wiped out "more than 200 militants, including about 40 foreign mercenaries" as well as more than 20 armor units, according to the military.

The Russian Defense Ministry's statement comes after its claim on Monday that the Ukrainian counteroffensive in Kherson had "failed miserably." At the time, the ministry put Kiev's losses at 26 tanks, 23 armored fighting vehicles, nine more armored vehicles, two jets and at least 560 troops.

Kiev has been talking about a "Kherson counteroffensive" all summer, while soliciting more weapons and ammunition from its Western backers. In a video address to the people on Sunday, Zelensky vowed that "Ukraine will return" to Donbass - as well as Kharkov, Zaporozhye, Kherson, and "definitely to Crimea."

Russia sent troops into Ukraine on February 24, citing Kiev's failure to implement the Minsk agreements, designed to give the regions of Donetsk and Lugansk special status within the Ukrainian state. The protocols, brokered by Germany and France, were first signed in 2014. Former Ukrainian president Pyotr Poroshenko has since admitted that Kiev's main goal was to use the ceasefire to buy time and "create powerful armed forces."

In February 2022, the Kremlin recognized the Donbass republics as independent states and demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join any Western military bloc. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked.