Ukraine notes progress after ‘difficult’ week, upsurge in Bakhmut fighting By Reuters

© Reuters. Ukrainian servicemen operate a Gepard self-propelled anti-aircraft gun during their combat shift, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, in Kyiv region, Ukraine June 30, 2023. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko/File Photo

By Pavel Polityuk

KYIV (Reuters) -Ukraine said on Monday its troops had regained more ground along eastern and southern fronts in what President Volodymyr Zelenskiy described as progress in a “difficult” week for Kyiv’s counteroffensive against Russian forces.

Deputy Defence Minister Hanna Maliar also noted a surge in fighting around the shattered eastern city of Bakhmut, captured by Russian forces in May after 10 months of battles.

“Last week was difficult on the front line. But we are making progress,” Zelenskiy wrote on the Telegram messaging app.

“We are moving forward, step by step! I thank everyone who is defending Ukraine, everyone who is leading this war to Ukraine’s victory!”

In an initial report on Telegram, Maliar said the Ukrainian military took back 37.4 square kilometres (14.4 square miles) of territory in heavy fighting in the past week.

She said Russian forces were attacking near Lyman, in the northern Donetsk region and near Avdiivka and Mariinka, long-contested cities further south – to the west of Bakhmut.

In a later report, Maliar said fighting near Bakhmut had intensified and “a struggle is underway to seize the initiative.

“Today, the enemy attempted to advance in this sector. And our forces achieved a measure of success,” she wrote. “The situation is changing rapidly and control over positions can be lost and regained twice within a day.”

Russian forces, she said, were setting up three defensive lines on certain fronts. Ukrainian forces had advanced near a village south of Bakhmut, while fighting was continuing to the north and the city experienced heavy exchanges of fire.

General Oleksander Syrskyi, in charge of Ukraine’s land forces, reported advances of troops on the fringes of Bakhmut and “effective destruction of Russians”.

Earlier in the day, Maliar said Ukraine had reclaimed 9 square km over the past week along the eastern front “as a result of improving the operational (tactical) position and aligning the front line”.

In the south, Ukraine had regained 28.4 square km of territory, bringing the total area of recaptured territory along that front to 158.4 square km.

Russia, which launched its invasion in February 2022, said at the weekend its forces had repelled Ukrainian attacks near villages ringing Bakhmut and in areas further south, particularly near the hilltop town of Vuhledar. It also reported success in containing Ukrainian troops in the northeast.

Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Monday that a brief mutiny by the Wagner mercenary group last month had not affected Russia’s “special military operation” in Ukraine.

“The provocation did not affect the actions of army groups (involved in the operation),” he told a ministry meeting.

Reuters could not confirm the battlefield accounts.

#Ukraine #notes #progress #difficult #week #upsurge #Bakhmut #fighting #Reuters

Leave a Comment