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Moscow's forces in the Kherson region lack artillery and ammunition support, according to several prominent Russian military bloggers.
Roman Saponkov, a Russian blogger who has over 70,000 subscribers, wrote Friday that troops in the Kherson region messaged him about their lack of artillery support.
“The brigade commander and the chief of the reconnaissance battalion are sending our guys in without artillery support, without drones — poor guys are being killed in packs,” Saponkov posted.
Visioner’s Channel, another Russian blog, posted Sunday that Russia’s 205th brigade is facing “an alarming signal of crisis in the army and the country.”
“The main problem of the Russian Ministry of Defense is well known,” the blog noted, referencing the lack of ammunition.
“After the disaster with Prigozhin, there was confidence that now, at any rate, things would start to move forward and that changes would begin. But the third month has gone by, yet there is still nothing,” the blog noted, referencing the incident when late Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin slammed Russian officials over the lack of ammunition months before his death.
Another Russian blog, Republic, discussed “the growing problems in the Russian army” in a telegram post on Monday.
“The 205th brigade of the Russian Armed Forces that is fighting in the Kherson region was ordered to occupy islands on the Dnipro River; the servicemen responded by saying that they lacked ammunition, food, artillery support and reconnaissance,” the blog post said.
The Russian Ataman Fund, a charitable foundation that provides financial support for soldiers on the frontline, wrote in a Telegram post Sunday it hopes the supply problem in Kherson will be sorted out so the Russian service members “will be able to defend their homeland with everything they need.”
“Otherwise, there will be trouble,” it added.
Ukraine's deputy defense minister claimed Monday that Kyiv's forces have made further gains on the southern front, while heavy fighting is raging in the east.
Russian strikes killed at least two people in the central Poltava region and another person in Kherson, officials said Monday. Meanwhile, Russian air defenses destroyed drones near Moscow and over the Bryansk border region overnight, officials said.
Here are more of the latest headlines from the Russia-Ukraine war:
- Russian says it intercepted US drones near Crimea: The Russian Ministry of Defense says it deployed two fighter jets to intercept a United States Air Force MQ-9 "Reaper" and RQ-4 "Global Hawk" unmanned aerial vehicles near the Crimean peninsula. The drones were detected by Russian forces monitoring equipment flying over the southwestern part of the Black Sea, the defense ministry said on Telegram. A Pentagon spokesperson told CNN the US "will continue to fly routine missions over the Black Sea as permitted by international law to ensure freedom of navigation and maneuver in the region."
- Heavy fighting in south: Ukraine’s deputy defense minister Hanna Maliar claimed Ukrainian forces appeared to be making further advances along the southern frontline, near the recently liberated village of Robotyne. However, Maliar added that “the enemy is throwing all its forces at these areas in order not to surrender the occupied positions.” Her comments come as Ukrainian soldiers detailed the challenges in trying to push further south.
- Mandatory evacuations of children: Ukrainian authorities have ordered a mandatory evacuation of children from two districts of the southeastern Zaporizhzhia region that are under persistent shelling by the Russians. Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk told Ukrainian television that the evacuation of children from the Vasylivskyi and Pologivskyi districts is now mandatory. Altogether more than 50 children are still thought to live in the districts. There was also a compulsory evacuation of a community in the Kupiansk district of Kharkiv region, which has seen intense Russian bombardments in recent weeks. And in Donetsk region, "89 children from 11 settlements are being evacuated, and today the process is underway," Vereshchuk said.
- Poland and Baltic states pledge possible border closing: Poland and the Baltic states have pledged to shut their borders with Belarus if a “critical incident” occurs, Polish Interior Minister Mariusz Kamiński said Monday. “This situation is escalating. For many weeks, for several months, we have been dealing with the return of migratory pressure on our border. The same applies to the borders of our partners,” Kamiński told a news conference in Warsaw after a meeting with his Latvian, Lithuanian and Estonian counterparts. The stationing of “several thousand mercenaries” from the Wagner Group in Belarus has added a “new element” to the situation along the border, Kamiński added.
"Powerful players" are expected to arrive on Ukraine's arms market, Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov said in a news conference on Monday, according to Ukrainian-state news agency Ukrinform.
"By the end of this month or at the beginning of September, there will be good news about powerful players arriving on Ukraine's arms market. Several agreements will be signed," Reznikov said.
Ukraine plans to hold an industrial defense forum around the end of September or the beginning of October, he said. “The participation of about 50 powerful players of the arms market is planned,” he added.
Reznikov said that Ukraine has “significantly increased the production of domestic weapons,” such as 155 mm artillery shells that have already passed tests.
"The contract is being executed. The first orders are already in place, we will immediately transfer them (artillery shells) to the Armed Forces. And we plan to increase the number for their production," he said.
Reznikov noted that while the 125 mm artillery shells are still currently being tested, there are difficulties with producing 122 mm artillery shells.
Ukraine has several missile and anti-missile programs and is discussing “how to use the funds more appropriately in this direction,” Reznikov said.
“A lot of money is needed so that these programs can be put into effect in 2024-2025. That's why we are having a discussion: whether to spend money and buy shells now from foreign manufacturers or invest it (at home) and have missiles approximately in a year," he explained.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky echoed Reznikov’s comments in his nightly address on Monday, noting that Ukraine is "maximizing production capacity” of domestic weapons.
“Artillery made in Ukraine. Shells made in Ukraine. Drones, missiles, armored vehicles. We are maximizing production capacity. Ukraine can do it. Funding is available. Our defense industry will yield better results,” Zelensky said.
One person is dead and seven others were injured by Ukrainian shelling in the Russian-occupied Donetsk region Monday, according to the head of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic Denis Pushilin.
The person killed and two of the injured were in Horlivka, Pushilin said in a post to Telegram. They were "seriously wounded," he said.
Another five were injured in districts of the city of Donetsk, with several critical infrastructure facilities sustaining damage, the Russian-backed official added.
The head of the Russian-occupied DPR also claimed that cluster munitions were used. CNN cannot independently verify this claim.
In the southern city of Odesa, beachgoers have been enjoying some respite from the gloom of war. Kids on floaties, water fights and impromptu volleyball games are certainly a surprising scene in Ukraine.
The port city reopened several beaches this month for the first time since Russia’s invasion.
Serhiy, a 59-year-old conscript based in Kherson, was lying on a sunbed alongside his wife Tetyana.
Being at the beach “looks a little strange but you need some relaxing,” he told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour. He’ll be back on the frontline after his 15-day furlough and is adamant that Ukraine’s counteroffensive is going according to plan.
Another beachgoer, Olga, hopes her parents and 5-year-old daughter Solomiya can take her mind off the conflict for a little while – but she herself finds it difficult.
“The sirens at night don’t let you forget… at least I don’t,” she said.
Meanwhile, at the “Recovery” military rehab center about six miles away, wounded soldiers roam the hallways on their way to physiotherapy sessions and in and out of x-ray rooms.
From his full body sling, 41-year-old Vitaly tells CNN he lost three toes after stepping on a mine eight months ago in Kherson.
Yet soldier after soldier say they cannot wait to be back on the frontline.
“I am surprised by the motivation of our guys to renew… to get back their functions, to get back to the war,” said Dr. Olena Tarakanova, who leads the rehab efforts at the center. “Their motivation motivates me too."
CNN's Mark Phillips and Olha Konovalova contributed reporting to this post.
The Russian Ministry of Defense says it deployed two fighter jets to intercept a United States Air Force MQ-9 "Reaper" and RQ-4 "Global Hawk" unmanned aerial vehicles near the Crimean peninsula.
The drones were detected by Russian forces that were monitoring equipment flying over the southwestern part of the Black Sea, the Russian defense ministry said on Telegram.
Two Russian fighter jets were deployed to avert a “possible violation of the state border” and to “counter any radio-technical reconnaissance,” the defense ministry said.
“As a result of the actions of on-duty air defense forces, the United States Air Force reconnaissance UAVs changed their flight path and left the areas where air reconnaissance was being conducted,” the defense ministry said.
Pentagon spokesperson Lt. Col. Garron Garn told CNN the US "will continue to fly routine missions over the Black Sea as permitted by international law to ensure freedom of navigation and maneuver in the region."
Ukrainian authorities have ordered a mandatory evacuation of children from two districts of the southeastern Zaporizhzhia region that are under persistent shelling by the Russians.
Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk told Ukrainian television that the evacuation of children from the Vasylivskyi and Pologivskyi districts is now mandatory. Altogether more than 50 children are still thought to live in the districts.
There was also a compulsory evacuation of a community in the Kupiansk district of Kharkiv region, which has seen intense Russian bombardments in recent weeks.
And in Donetsk region, "89 children from 11 settlements are being evacuated, and today the process is underway," Vereshchuk said.
There was an explosion at a Russian base in the occupied city of Enerhodar, close to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, as a result of a resistance operation, according to Ukrainian Defense Intelligence.
Defense intelligence said on its Telegram channel that the explosion occurred Monday morning at the headquarters of Russia's special riot police force, known as the OMON unit.
“As a result of the operation of the local resistance movement coordinated by the Defence Intelligence of Ukraine, an improvised 'barracks' of the Russian Guard unit 'Akhmat-1' was 'damaged.'"
Akhmat-1 is a Chechen unit. Defense intelligence said that after the city was occupied, Chechen fighters had seized and converted a building on the site of a Ukrainian bank branch.
It said the explosion “resulted in injuries to the occupiers' personnel and cars parked in the courtyard. A fire broke out in the building. Fire crews and ambulances arrived at the scene. Information on the number of killed and wounded Kadyrovites is currently being clarified.”
Ukrainian Defense Intelligence also posted video of the explosion that showed a drone flying towards the front entrance of the building, which CNN has geolocated as in Enerhodar. There were no civilian casualties or injuries, defense intelligence said.
A Russian-appointed official in occupied Zaporizhzhia acknowledged that the military-civilian administration building in Enerhodar was hit by a drone Monday. However, the official disputed Ukraine's claim that personnel casualties occurred as a result of the bombing.
Vladimir Rogov said that "preliminarily, there are no dead or injured. Employees of the administration have already been evacuated."
Emergency services are working on the spot, Rogov said on Telegram.
More background: Ukrainian Defense intelligence has previously claimed sabotage attacks earlier this month in Enerhodar. It said there had been an explosion at a meeting of the chiefs of the occupation police on August 18, and last week another at the local headquarters of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB).