Britain says Russia has lost a third of its forces in Ukraine

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FILE PHOTO: A local resident rides a bicycle past a charred armoured vehicle in Volnovakha

LONDON (Reuters) -Russia has probably lost around a third of the ground forces it deployed to Ukraine and its offensive in the Donbas region "has lost momentum and fallen significantly behind schedule", British military intelligence said on Sunday.

"Despite small-scale initial advances, Russia has failed to achieve substantial territorial gains over the past month whilst sustaining consistently high levels of attrition," the British defence ministry said on Twitter.

"Russia has now likely suffered losses of one third of the ground combat force it committed in February."

It said Russia was unlikely to dramatically accelerate its rate of advance over the next 30 days.

Since Russia's invasion on Feb. 24, Ukraine's military has forced Russia's commanders to abandon an advance on the capital Kyiv, before making rapid gains in the northeast and driving them away from the second biggest city of Kharkiv.

A Ukrainian counteroffensive has been under way near the Russian-held town of Izium, though Ukraine's military reported on Sunday that Russian forces were advancing elsewhere in the Donbas region, the main theatre of war over the past month.

(Reporting by Jaiveer Singh Shekhawat in Bengaluru and William Schomberg in London; Editing by William Mallard and Aidan Lewis)

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