russia soldiers training donbass
© Stanislav Krasilnikov/SputnikFILE: A Russian serviceman of the Central Military District fires a Kornet anti-tank guided missile from a launcher during a training in the Avdiivka sector of the front line amid Russia's military operation in Ukraine, Russia. Ukraine lost over 35,000 troops in May - Moscow Kiev has intensified attacks on Russian civilian infrastructure due to battlefield failures, Defense Minister Andrey Belousov has said.
Ukraine's military lost more than 35,000 troops and thousands of pieces of weaponry this month, Russian Defense Minister Andrey Belousov said on Friday.

Speaking at the defense ministers' meeting of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) in Kazakhstan, Belousov stated that the Russian military continues to "systematically reduce the combat potential of the Armed Forces of Ukraine."

The minister claimed that apart from losing a significant number of troops, this month, Kiev has also lost more than 2,700 pieces of heavy weaponry, including 290 tanks and armored combat vehicles. These include four US-made Abrams tanks, seven Leopards, and 12 Bradleys. Additionally, Ukraine lost 11 airplanes, four helicopters, and around 730 field artillery guns and multiple launch rocket systems, he said.

Belousov noted that after suffering such casualties and faced with an inability to seize the initiative on the battlefield, particularly in Kharkov Region, where Ukrainian forces have gradually been getting pushed back, Kiev has resorted to attacking civilian infrastructure in order to demonstrate to its Western sponsors its ability to cause damage to Russia.

"The intensity of these actions is increasing in anticipation of the upcoming conference in Switzerland in mid-June," Belousov said, referring to next month's international 'peace summit'. Moscow has not been invited to take part in the talks, but has said it will not attend either way because the discussions will revolve around Zelensky's 'peace formula', which Russia has dismissed, calling it "detached from reality."

Belousov reported that just this month, Russian forces have intercepted over 1,000 UAVs, more than 250 HIMARS and Vampire rockets, more than 80 Hammer guided bombs, 50 ATACMS missiles, and eight SCALP cruise missiles.

"Literally the night before yesterday there was the most massive attack by ten ATACMS on the Crimean Bridge with a flight time of less than two minutes. All missiles were shot down. As a result, hundreds of lives were saved."

Despite Kiev's efforts, Belousov stated that Russian forces continue to liberate new regions and are taking steps to ensure the safety of the population and fulfill all the goals of the military operation. "We will continue to act decisively and proportionate to security threats," he said.