Ukraine Says Positions In East Shelled To Prevent Troop Transfers, Plot To Kill Top Officials Foiled

By RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service

Russian troops shelled positions held by Ukrainian troops and several populated areas in various directions, Ukraine's General Staff said as Ukraine's Security Service (SBU) said it had foiled a plot to kill two top government officials.

In the Donetsk region, Russian troops are trying to inflict "maximum losses" on Ukrainian units and prevent their transfer to other fronts, the General Staff said in its evening assessment of the day's fighting.

"Our soldiers repelled enemy assaults in the direction of the settlements of Bakhmut, Zaytseve, Vershina, and Kodem," the General Staff announced.

It said Russian attempts to attack in the direction of Avdiyivka and Piskiv were stopped and the enemy troops withdrew.

Attempts to break through the defense of the Ukrainian forces in the directions of Maryinka and Shevchenko were also unsuccessful, the report said.

In the north, the shelling of border settlements in the Chernihiv and Sumy regions, as well as Russian aerial reconnaissance, continued.

"In the Kharkiv direction, enemy units using tanks, barrel, and rocket artillery are trying to restrain the Defense Forces from advancing deep into the territory temporarily captured by the enemy," the report said.

Russian ships on the Black Sea launched four Kalibr sea-based cruise missiles early on August 8. All were shot down by Ukrainian air defenses, the Ukrainian military said.

The claims, which could not be independently verified, came as the SBU said it had arrested Russian agents who were planning to assassinate the defense minister and the military intelligence chief.

The SBU said it arrested "killers from the Russian special services" who were plotting the assassinations of Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov and military intelligence boss Kyrylo Budanov.

It published a video on Telegram showing an armed group subduing and handcuffing two men in civilian clothing who were approaching a car.

The arrests took place in Kovel in northwestern Ukraine. The SBU said one of the alleged plotters arrived in the country from Russia via Belarus.

It claimed the men were preparing "the physical liquidation" of the two top officials and an unnamed "Ukrainian activist." It said each killing was to be rewarded with a sum of $100,000 to $150,000.

Earlier on August 8, Kirill Stremousov, the Moscow-appointed deputy head of the military-civilian administration of the Kherson region, told reporters that Ukrainian rockets again damaged the Antonivskiy Bridge overnight, destroying equipment being used to repair the bridge.

Stremousov added that the reopening of the bridge, which has been closed to all traffic since it was attacked by Ukrainian-operated HIMARS on July 26-27, will be postponed for an unspecified period. The bridge was first targeted by Ukrainian forces on July 19-20, seriously damaging the bridge and temporarily halting heavy truck traffic.

The Antonivskiy Bridge is the only bridge in Kherson that links the banks of the Dnieper River. About 1 1/2 kilometers long and 25 meters wide, the bridge is the only route to supply Russian occupying forces in Kherson.

The United States announced later on August 8 that it will supply Ukraine with an additional $1 billion in military aid, including rockets for the HIMARS and other ammunition. It is the largest delivery yet to Ukraine of arms from Department of Defense stockpiles.

The U.S. Defense Department also said up to 80,000 people have been killed or injured on the Russian side in the war.

Pentagon official Colin Kahl told reporters in Washington that Russia had suffered a "tremendous number of casualties" in its war on Ukraine.

He said the estimate was "pretty remarkable considering that in Ukraine, the Russians have achieved none of Vladimir Putin's objectives at the beginning of the war."

With reporting by AFP