(Moscow) Russia claimed Tuesday the capture of two new villages in eastern Ukraine, continuing its slow progress begun several months ago in the face of an army lacking recruits and weapons.

According to the Defense Ministry, Russian troops seized Miasojarivka in the Luhansk region and Timkivka in the Kharkiv region, two small villages on the front.

The Russian army has been nibbling ground for months in eastern and southern Ukraine without achieving any real breakthrough. On Monday, Moscow had already claimed the capture of a village in one of the rare sectors where Ukrainian troops had made progress during their counter-offensive last summer.

Russian President Vladimir Putin reported last week that his forces have captured nearly 880 square kilometers of territory and about 50 localities since the beginning of the year.

They also launched an offensive in the Kharkiv region on May 10, seizing several localities before being slowed down by reinforcements dispatched by Kyiv. According to the Russian army, its forces nevertheless advanced near the hamlets of Glyboke and Tykhe.  

Ukrainian troops have been facing a shortage of men and ammunition for months, due to sluggish mobilization and delays in Western arms deliveries.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is visiting Germany on Tuesday to ask for more help from his European allies, ahead of two crucial summits for Ukraine scheduled for this week: the G7 in Italy and a peace conference in Switzerland.