Russia claims more progress in Ukraine's Zaporizhzhia region

A local is seen in a window her house destroyed by a Russian military strike in the village of Stepne, in Zaporizhzhia Region
A local is seen by a window after her house was destroyed by a Russian military strike, as Russia's attack on Ukraine continues, in the village of Stepne, in Zaporizhzhia Region, Ukraine December 29, 2022. REUTERS/Stringer

Jan 22 (Reuters) - Russia's defence ministry said for the second straight day on Sunday that its forces were improving their positions in Ukraine's southern Zaporizhzhia region.

"During offensive operations in the direction of Zaporizhzhia, units of the Eastern Military District took up more advantageous ground and positions," the defence ministry said.

It claimed to have inflicted casualties and destroyed equipment including Ukrainian fighting vehicles, howitzers and two U.S.-made HIMARS rockets.

Reuters was not able to independently verify Russia's battlefield accounts. Ukraine on Saturday said Russia's claims of progress in Zaporizhzhia were exaggerated.

Fighting in recent weeks has centred around the town of Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine, where Russia's Wagner mercenaries and Ukrainian forces have been locked in a battle of attrition.

Neither side has claimed major movements on the southern front since November, when Russia pulled out of the city of Kherson.

With the war now 11 months old, Ukraine has said it believes Moscow is likely to attempt a new offensive in the coming months.

Reporting by Reuters

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