Ukraine Live Updates: Bridge damaged by Russian occupation of Crimea

Ukrainian soldiers who recently returned from the front lines have been training for combat in eastern Ukraine this month.debt…Mauricio Lima for The New York Times

Russia’s defense minister said on Thursday that the country’s military was able to repulse a counterattack by Ukraine, echoing a sentiment widespread among some Russian commentators — a view President Vladimir V. Despite some backlash, including from Putin.

Defense Minister, Sergei K. Shoigu told Mr Putin a National Security Council meeting The Russian army successfully repulsed the initial wave of the Ukrainian counteroffensive. Mr. Putin said Moscow’s forces could withstand further attacks even if Western allies provided Ukraine with more weapons. Shoigu expressed confidence and analysts said the main thrust of Kiev’s counterattack was yet to come.

“From our side, we are also preparing,” said Mr. Shoigu told the meeting, which was broadcast on Russian state television.

Nikolai P. Patrushev, secretary of the Security Council, repeated Russia’s recent claims that its military had destroyed dozens of tanks, armored vehicles and other military equipment in Ukraine. Mr. Patrushev’s specific claims have not been verified, but photos and videos published by pro-war Russian bloggers and verified by The Times show that Ukraine lost or abandoned several Western-supplied tanks and armored vehicles in the early days of the offensive. This month.

Nevertheless, Mr. Putin prompted optimistic assessments during the meeting that “the offensive capabilities of the enemy have not decreased, and many strategic reserves have not been used,” the Russian leader said.

Mr. Shoigu and other senior Russian officials told Mr. Putin said. “We must proceed from the actual situation.”

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A day earlier, Mr.

Mr. Shoigu said. He said Russia will form a new reserve army by the end of this month. The Russian military has lost thousands of fighters in battles such as the eastern Ukrainian city of Pakmut.

Ukraine’s counteroffensive has claimed a few villages but not made rapid advances against Russia’s strongholds, which Ukrainian and Western military analysts say is not surprising, especially since Kyiv has yet to deploy its newly trained and armed forces in combat. .

But Russian officials tried to project hope. Mr. Seldom spoke about the fighting in the early months of the war. Putin has spoken publicly five times this month, often stressing what he says is Ukraine’s failure to meet his goals.

Following his lead, Russia’s state-run television channels have grown more assertive in recent weeks, repeating the message that the country’s troops will withstand Ukrainian attacks. Many pro-war Russian activists feared that the counteroffensive would lead to a resumption of Russian retreats near the cities of Kharkiv and Kherson last fall.

But detractors have also emerged. Yevgeny V. Prigozhin, head of the Wagner sub-military group that spearheaded Russia’s bid to capture the eastern city of Bagmut in May, said on Thursday that the situation on the battlefield was dire for Russia.

“What we are being told about Ukraine’s counterattack is not true,” said Mr. Prigozhin said in a statement. Voice message Released by his press service, he added: “They have captured significant territories that we lost.”

He often criticized the Russian military authorities. to say: “What the President has on his desk is a complete lie.”

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