Russia has announced the repelling of Ukrainian air strikes on its territory and a new cross-border incursion, while Kiev said it had made progress on the southern axis and rejected any criticism of its counteroffensive launched months ago.

Russian authorities said they had thwarted Ukrainian drone attacks in Moscow and Bryansk provinces and destroyed a Ukrainian missile over Crimea, which Moscow annexed in 2014.

The governor of the Bryansk region in western Russia, Alexander Bogomaz, said that the Russian National Guard shot down 3 drones over Bryansk, while the Russian Defense Ministry announced the destruction of another drone by air defenses over the "Voskresinsky" region of the Moscow region.

In Crimea, Russian authorities said Russian air defenses last night shot down a Ukrainian winged missile east of the peninsula, which is strategically important to Moscow and which Kiev insists on recapture.

Authorities said shrapnel from the rocket caused damage to one of the high-pressure power lines.

Cross-border incursion

In a related context, Bryansk Governor Alexander Bogomaz announced that what he described as Ukrainian "saboteurs" were killed and 5 others captured who had penetrated into the Russian border region of Bryansk with Ukraine.

Russian regions bordering Ukraine have repeatedly reported shelling and attacks by Ukrainian forces, including cross-border incursions.

The governor of Bryansk said elements of Ukraine's special forces had tried to carry out a series of "terrorist acts on energy infrastructure" and military installations on Wednesday.

"In the Navlinsky region (about 40 kilometers from the Ukrainian border), two militants were liquidated and 5 arrested, and 3 of them were injured" in the context of combat measures, he said in a social media post.

Bogomez said the group used U.S.-made machine guns, grenades and NATO standard ammunition, and posted a photo of what he said were confiscated weapons.

In June, Russia's Belgorod border region suffered the largest incursion since the start of the offensive into Ukraine, and Moscow said at the time that it had killed dozens of pro-Ukrainian militants, while Kiev spoke of the success of its offensive.

Ukraine reported new gains in the southern Zaporizhia region (Reuters)

New gains

On the other hand, the General Staff of the Ukrainian Army announced on Thursday that more gains had been made in the counteroffensive in the southern Zaporizhye region. The army said Ukrainian units had advanced south of the village of Rubin towards the nearby Novoprokopeivka region.

Ukrainian officials pointed to unconfirmed reports that Ukrainian forces in the east of the country had seized territory near the village of Verbovi.

The U.S. Institute for the Study of War said it had seen video that showed some Ukrainian reconnaissance forces may have reached the outskirts of Verbovi.

The Ukrainian army recently regained control of the village of Rubin after weeks of fighting. The Ukrainian army aims to reach the Sea of Azov (about 90 kilometers from Robotin) and cut off a large supply route between areas under the control of Russian forces.

The Ukrainian General Staff said its forces were continuing their offensive towards Militopol and that they had managed to repel attacks by Russian forces towards Pakhmut and Lyman, in Donetsk in the east of the country.

It confirmed that Ukrainian forces continue their air strikes on concentrations of Russian forces and anti-aircraft missile sites, and that they have destroyed Russian missile units and vehicles in a number of locations.

"Shut up"

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba on Thursday attacked critics of his country's months-long counteroffensive against Russian forces, calling on them to "shut up".

Speaking on the sidelines of a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Toledo, Spain, Kuleba said: "Criticizing the slowness of the counterattack is equivalent to spitting in the face of a Ukrainian soldier who sacrifices his life." "I suggest all those who criticize shut up and come to Ukraine and try to free up one square centimeter themselves," he said.

In June, Ukraine launched a counteroffensive in the east and south that allowed it to retake a number of small towns, but it faces Russian forces holed up behind solid defensive lines of barricades, trenches and minefields.

After thanking European ministers for their governments' support for Kiev, Kuleba declared that Ukraine still needed ammunition, armored vehicles, long-range missiles and air defense systems.

Kiev has repeatedly asked its allies for advanced weapons, ammunition and modern fighter jets to replace its old fleet of aircraft, and since the beginning of the war since February 2022, it has received significant military and financial support, especially from the United States.