Russia says it has successfully struck a hangar of weapons the U.S. had given Ukraine’s armed forces.
Russian defense ministry spokesperson Lieutenant-General Igor Konashenkov said “a high-precision weapon” fired by Russia’s forces had destroyed a hangar in Chasiv Yar in the Donetsk region.
He said the hanger housed “American 155-mm M777 howitzers and up to 30 Ukrainian militants shelling residential areas of Donetsk.”
Konashenkov’s comments, reported by the state-run Tass news agency on Saturday, have not been independently verified. Newsweek has asked Ukraine’s armed forces, which have previously said they too had taken out Russian ammunition depot, for comment.
The howitzer cannons were part of an $800m weapons package announced by the Biden administration in April that also includes armored personnel carriers, helicopters and tens of thousands of artillery rounds.
Since then, the U.S. has stepped up its military support for Ukraine, announcing on Friday its latest package worth $400m for weapons of High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS).
It comes as Luhansk regional governor Serhiy Haidai said that Ukrainian forces were trying to contain Russian forces conducting an offensive operation west of Lysychansk.
He said in a Telegram social media post on Saturday that Russian troops were attacking from “several directions” and that “where it is inconvenient for them to go forward, they create real hell, shelling the territories on the horizon.”
Meanwhile, in its latest assessment of the war, Britain’s Ministry of Defense said that Russia was moving its forces across the country and placing them near Ukraine for future offensives.
U.K. defense officials said that “a large proportion of the new infantry units are probably deploying with MT-LB armored vehicles taken from long-term storage as their primary transport.”
They added that “while MT-LBs have previously been in service in support roles on both sides, Russia has long considered them unsuitable for most front-line infantry transport roles.”
The assessment also said that despite Vladimir Putin’s claims on Thursday that Russia had “not even started” in its war in Ukraine, “many of its reinforcements are ad hoc groupings, deploying with obsolete or inappropriate equipment.”
Meanwhile, the first batch of Ukrainian soldiers have arrived in the U.K. to be trained by British forces. The program, involving more than 1,000 British service personnel, will provide training for up to 10,000 volunteer recruits.
On Saturday, U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken met with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi at the G20 in Indonesia where he expressed concerns about Beijing’s alignment with Russia.
Blinken said that despite China’s claim of neutrality in the war, “it’s pretty hard to be neutral when it comes to this aggression,” as he called for Beijing to “stand up” against Russia.