Moscow announced today Friday that it captured “key positions on the heights” near the city of Kupyansk in eastern Ukraine, a sector of the front that its troops have been attacking for several weeks.

“In the direction of Kupyansk, the tactical position of the ‘West’ military units was improved by the capture of enemy strongholds on the heights,” the Russian Defense Ministry said on Telegram.

Earlier today, Ukrainian regional authorities had spoken of strikes in Borova, Kupiansk and Kislivka communities, which are “under artillery and mortar attacks”.

Russia has deployed significant means to take control of the Kupyansk sector recaptured from Ukraine last year and, according to Ilya Yevlach, a spokesman for the eastern command of the Ukrainian military, 45,000 of its troops are deployed there.

The Russian army has been declaring in recent days that it is advancing in the region, with the British Ministry of Defense estimating that Ukrainian territorial gains in the south may cause it to multiply offensive operations mainly towards Kupyansk.

Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Hana Maliar admitted in recent days that the fighting is “very fierce” in the Kupyansk zone where three people were killed by shelling on the outskirts of that city.

In early August, officials called on the population living near Kupyansk to leave.

After months of stockpiling Western weapons, the Ukrainian army in June launched a major military operation in the south and east to retake occupied territory.

Russian troops spent the winter and spring fortifying their positions by building trenches, anti-tank traps and minefields for hundreds of kilometers.

“We destroyed 281 Ukrainian drones in one week”

The Russian Ministry of Defense also announced that it destroyed a total of 281 Ukrainian drones (drones) last week, including 29 over western regions of Russia, an indication of the scale of the drone war now underway between Russia and Ukraine.

“Two hundred and eighty one unmanned aerial vehicles were destroyed, including a Tu-141 Strizh, as well as 29 Ukrainian UAVs in the western regions of the Russian Federation,” the ministry said today.


Russia, for its part, has repeatedly hit Ukraine with explosive-laden drone attacks, which are much cheaper than missiles and can be difficult, and expensive, for air defense systems to intercept.

Ukrainian aerial drone strikes deep inside Russia have increased, after two drones were destroyed over the Kremlin in early May. Drone strikes in the Russian capital have become more frequent in recent months.

A Ukrainian drone attacked a city that is home to one of Russia’s largest nuclear power plants today, although no damage was reported to the plant, Russian officials said.

“The Sarmats are on combat duty”

Meanwhile, “Roscosmos” (Russian space agency) announced that the Sarmat missile system, which the Russian Ministry of Defense calls “the most powerful missile in the world”, has been put into “combat service”.

Roscosmos chief Yuri Borisov said Sarmat is ready for action.

The Russian ministry maintains that it is an intercontinental ballistic missile with the longest target engagement range in the world, with “unique features” that allow it to be “guaranteed to outsmart” any existing and future missile defense systems.

Developers report that Sarmat it has a range of 18,000 kilometers and a launch mass of about 200 tons.