May 14, 2023 | 2:14 p.m
The commanders were killed while trying to thwart attempts to break through Ukraine’s front line at Pakmut.
Two Russian military commanders were killed in eastern Ukraine, Moscow’s Defense Ministry said on Sunday, as Kyiv vowed a long-awaited counteroffensive would liberate Russian-occupied parts of Ukraine.
The ministry said the commanders were fighting attempts to break through Ukraine’s front line in Pakmut.
Vyacheslav Makarov, commander of the 4th Motorized Rifle Regiment, was wounded during the fighting and died when he was evacuated from the battlefield, the ministry said.
Another high-ranking officer – Colonel Yevgeny Provko, deputy commander of the army corps for military-political work – “gallantly died of multiple shrapnel wounds,” the ministry said.
According to the ministry, Ukrainian troops have carried out attacks north and south of Baghmut over the past day, but have not breached Russian defenses.
“All attacks by the Armed Forces of Ukraine have been repelled,” it said in a statement.
Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar said on Sunday that troops were “continuing to advance in the Pakmut sector on the outskirts”.
“Our units captured more than ten enemy positions north and south of Pakmut and cleared a large forest near Ivanivsk. Enemy soldiers from different units were captured,” he said in a telegram.
Neither Russia nor Ukraine has been able to take full control of the hotly contested city, although it acknowledged on Friday that its troops had moved back north of Baghmut as Ukraine stepped up its offensive.
Kyiv has refrained from acknowledging that the spring counteroffensive had begun, but over the weekend, President Volodymyr Zelensky, with the help of its Western allies, said Russia’s defeat in the war was “irreversible.”
During a joint news conference with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Berlin, Zelensky said, “This year is already the time to decide the end of the war, the defeat of the aggressor can be made irreversible this year already.”
He thanked Germany for being a “true friend” during his visit after the German government announced $2.7 billion euro ($3 billion) in military aid to Ukraine.
With post wires