Ukraine LIVE: Russia's major offensive 'has begun' as Putin issues chilling threat to UK

Prominent Russian military blogger and former commander Igor Girkin has reported “heavy losses” of soldiers attempting to take the eastern Ukrainian city of Vuhledar, adding that it was “not surprising” because “only cretins attack head-on for many months” against well-fortified positions.

Russian forces have been staging an assault on Vulhedar, about 60 miles southwest of Bakhmut, for months with little success.

The town is located around one of Ukraine’s largest coal reserves in Ukraine, having estimated reserves of 69.3 million tonnes. Vulhedar actually translates to “gift of coal”.

It is also connected to a vital rail link down to southern Ukraine, which benefits Russia’s Armed Forces because they prefer to transport military equipment via rail lines as opposed to roads.

These two reasons are why Russian forces have led such an aggressive assault on the town despite its ostensible lack of worth.

But Igor Girkin, who was a commander in eastern Ukraine in 2014, was heavily critical of the latest round of attacks.

Speaking about the heavy losses, he said: “It is not surprising, since only cretins attack head-on for many months in a row in one and the same place, strongly fortified and extremely inconvenient for the attackers.”

Earlier this week, he accused the Russian war generals of “rushing” their offensives at great cost to personnel in order to gain territory ahead of the arrival of Western weapons supplies, such as main battle tanks.