Ukraine Counter-offensive Begins, Belgorod Border Skirmish – WWIII Prelude News 5/6/2023
The much anticipated and often delayed Ukrainian counteroffensive has finally begun on June 4th, beginning with a feint (misdirection) in Vuhledar, in the Donetsk oblast. The town is south of Donetsk city itself. Soon after, attacks were launched to the West at Novodarovka and Rivnopol, as well as Neskuchnoe and Blagodatnoe. The Russian Ministry of Defense has claimed Ukraine has amassed formations for their counteroffensive in the region, consisting of 30 tanks and about 3,000 men. Although Ukrainian forces pushed Russian lines back by about 3km, combined forces soon pushed them back, reportedly destroying 16 Ukrainian tanks and either killing or capturing about 300 men.
Fighting continued in these areas today, bringing the total costs up to 25-30 tanks and up to 2,000 men (according to Russian MoD). These are very high numbers, indicating that fighting was intense.
The Russian border region of Belgorod continues to be an area of conflict. The combatants invading from Ukraine claim to be Russian rebels, but they’re most likely to be Ukrainian regulars with some Polish and other mercenaries in the mix. They engaged in combat on June 4th, but were pushed back into Ukraine, and they shelled residential areas near the border. Why would Russians kill Russian civilians?
During their incursion into Russian territory, they took 10 prisoners. They demanded to meet with the governor of the region, Gladkov, who agreed to meet the combatants at a border crossing. The promise was to return the prisoners. As one would expect, the prisoners nor their captors were at the meeting place, and instead they used the opportunity to ambush the security who arrived with the governor. The prisoners were then turned over to Ukrainian authorities, further imploding their claims to be Russians fighting for the liberation of their country, as no patriots would ever hand their citizens over to a hostile country.
Video is circulating on social media today appearing to show local radio and TV stations hijacked by this Ukrainian force, playing a deepfake speech from Vladimir Putin declaring martial law as well as triggering false air raid alerts.
Prigozhin in Hot Water
In the final days before the fall of Bakhmut, Wagner forces were pulled from the front lines and replaced with Russian regulars and Chechen fighters for rest and restocking of supplies. Leader of the PMC, Prigozhin, claims Russian regulars attacked his men. Commentators suggest the two groups may have got into arguments which then escalated into violence, with the Russian regulars presumably angry with their leader’s comments over the prior months, insulting both them and the Russian high command.
Wagner captured a Russian unit commander who admitted on video that he got drunk and decided to fire upon Wagner vehicles. The truth and the details of this may or may not arise in the coming days.