He denied Ukraines assertions of progress on the battlefield, though, insisting that its military had lost hundreds more tanks and vehicles than Russia with no gains to speak of.
Russian air forces and artillery weapons struck back against advancing Ukrainian troops on Tuesday, hammering them in the area of several southern villages that the Ukrainian Army had retaken over the past week in the opening phase of Kyivs counteroffensive.
The attack reduced one village to ruins and came on the same day that a Russian missile strike killed at least 11 people in Kryvyi Rih, the hometown of President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine, which lies about 100 miles from the eastern front line.
Thunderstorms had swept over southern Ukraine before the Russian attack on the villages, muddying terrain and complicating operations for both armies, which have been locked in fighting at multiple points as Ukrainian troops have tested Russian defenses along the front.
Conflicting claims made it difficult to assess the situation on the battlefield, but President Vladimir V.
Putin of Russia, speaking to Russian war correspondents and military bloggers, acknowledged that his forces had suffered some losses in June, including 54 tanks.