Russian troops are intensifying their attacks on the key eastern town of Avdiivka, a senior Ukraine officer said on Thursday, while the country’s general staff reported its military repelled many Russian assaults in widely separated sectors of the front.
President Volodymyr Zelenskiy hailed Ukraine’s counteroffensive launched in June as “inspiring”, but gave no details.
Russian forces have focused on the eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk since their drive on Kyiv stalled in the first days of the invasion in February 2022.
They have been bearing down since mid-October on the shattered town of Avdiivka, known for its coking plant and its position as a gateway to the city of Donetsk, 20 km (12 miles) to the east.
Oleksandr Borodin, press officer for Ukraine’s third separate assault brigade, said Russian forces were launching major infantry attacks, while trying to keep equipment intact.
Borodin told the news outlet Espreso TV there were no dramatic statistics for destroying enemy equipment “because they use it much less, mainly from a distance.
“But their movements are quite dense now. It is not just infantry advancing but also parallel work of artillery, drones, aviation, the same air bombing and more.”
Russian forces, he told Espreso, were unable to replenish supplies quickly and Ukrainian defensive positions were solid.
“All this started after the events in Israel,” he said. “Perhaps they believe it is the best time to advance, but they have no serious successes.”
Vitaliy Barabash, head of Avdiivka’s military administration, told Espreso Russian forces were shelling the town “round the clock” but wet ground from several days of rain was holding their troops back
“Once the ground dries, they will definitely advance.”
Ukraine’s General Staff, in its evening report, said its forces had repelled 11 attacks near Avdiivka, 15 in the nearby Maryinka sector and 22 further northeast in Bakhmut, a town seized by Russian in May. Six attacks were repelled further north near Kupiansk, where Russian forces have been active.
Russia’s Investigative Committee, in an account of the day’s fighting, said Ukrainian forces shelled the town of Skadovsk in a Russian-occupied area of southern Kherson region. The report said there were dead and wounded in the attack.
Russia’s Defence Ministry reported strikes on Ukrainian troops and equipment near Bakhmut.
Reuters could not independently confirm reports from either side. REUTERS
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