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Ukraine's counteroffensive against Russia appears to produce limited gains so far

LEILA FADEL, HOST:

Ukraine's military offensive has retaken a number of villages from Russian forces. A British military assessment finds the fighting is also generating heavy casualties on both sides. NPR's Greg Myre reports from Kyiv.

GREG MYRE, BYLINE: Ukraine's military says it captured a small village Sunday as part of its big push to drive Russian troops out of the southeast of the country. The taking of the settlement, Piatykhatky, marks the eighth village Ukraine has claimed since its offensive began more than a week ago. By all accounts, the fighting has been intense in the three areas where Ukraine is attacking, but details have been sparse.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

PRESIDENT VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY: (Non-English language spoken).

MYRE: In his nightly address, Ukraine's president Volodymyr Zelensky said, quote, "Our troops are advancing position by position," but he didn't mention specific places. Both Ukraine and Russia spent months preparing for the battles now underway. Ukraine received an array of new weaponry from the U.S. and Europe. The Russians have been laying minefields, building trenches and reinforcing potential weak spots.

Meanwhile, British military officials say it appears both Russia and Ukraine are suffering high casualties. The assessment says Ukraine is making small advances while Russian forces are conducting, quote, "relatively effective defensive operations." While little information is coming from the front, Ukrainian soldiers still in training near Kyiv say they're confident. A soldier who goes by the call sign Mohawk explains why he joined the Army for the first time at age 37 as a private.

MOHAWK: I just joined them a few months ago. And all of my friends died at war. And so right now I'm here just to take some revenge, maybe - just to go there and to kill Russians because they invade our motherland.

MYRE: In a war where battlefield information has generally flowed freely, neither side is saying much about Ukraine's offensive, which could be the biggest fight of the war.

Greg Myre, NPR News, Kyiv. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Greg Myre is a national security correspondent with a focus on the intelligence community, a position that follows his many years as a foreign correspondent covering conflicts around the globe.

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