Russian Pundits Are Blaming the Rain for Ukrainian Advances

  • Ukrainian forces have gained ground along the border of the Donetsk and Zaporizhzhia regions.
  • Russian milbloggers reportedly said it’s only because rain and fog grounded Russian aircraft.
  • President Volodymyr Zelenskyy acknowledged the rain but said his forces remained strong.

Russian milbloggers reportedly chalked up Ukrainian advancements to rain and heavy fog in key areas of their counteroffensive.

The pundits said that poor weather conditions on Sunday grounded Russian aircraft, impeding efforts to strike areas where Ukrainian forces were concentrated, around Donetsk and Zaporizhia oblasts, according to the Institute for the Study of War.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy acknowledged the weather but said his troops did just fine with it.

“Although the weather is unfavorable these days – the rain makes our task more difficult – the strength of our warriors still yields results,” Zelenskyy said on Monday, per the Kyiv Independent

Over the past week, Ukrainians have retaken 90 square kilometers of territory, according to ISW. Other advances include liberating some front-line villages — though efforts to overcome ruthless Russian obstacles have been bruising, as Insider’s Ryan Pickrell reported.

By Monday, the rain cleared, allowing Russian forces to launch a counterattack in western Donetsk Oblast, said former Russian officer and nationalist Igor Girkin, according to the ISW. By the end of Tuesday, Russia struck back in the village of Makarivka — which Ukraine said over the weekend it had liberated — reducing the area to rubble, according to The New York Times.

Meanwhile, President Vladimir Putin, in one of his most detailed addresses to the public in many months, insisted Tuesday to milbloggers and reporters that Ukrainians had suffered “catastrophic” losses during their counteroffensive and suggested that he could order his troops to try to seize more land in Ukraine to protect bordering Russian territory. 

A US official familiar with American intelligence said Putin’s comments were “not accurate” and cautioned about putting any stock in Russia’s public assessments. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to offer an internal assessment, did not detail how Putin’s claims were misleading.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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