Russian forces on Thursday said they had stepped up their attacks in eastern Ukraine and appeared to have made some territorial gains in the Donbas region.
The eastern region has been the main focus of Russia’s military efforts since it invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24.
Protecting self-declared pro-Russian republics in Ukraine’s east was the reason given by the Kremlin for sending in troops.
It said days before the war started, President Vladimir Putin recognised the republics as independent entities, to Kiev’s outrage.
“The enemy continues its attack efforts in the Eastern Operation Zone with the aim of establishing full control over the Donetsk, Luhansk, and Kherson regions.
“Aiming at also maintaining the land corridor to the temporarily occupied Crimea,’’ the Ukrainian General Staff said in its situation report.
According to the report, Russian attacks in the Donbas are focused on the towns of Sievierodonetsk, Lyman, Bakhmut, Avdiivka, and Kurakhove, as well as Rubizhne, which is already largely occupied by Russian forces.
“In the area around Sievierodonetsk, the enemy is conducting attacks on Kudryashivka and Sievierodonetsk and is meeting a partial success,’’ the Ukrainian military leadership admitted.
It’s in the hopes of advancing on the small town of Liman, that Russian troops have been attempting to set up pontoon bridges across the Siverskyi Donets River.
On Wednesday evening, the Ukrainian General Staff said that the pontoons had been destroyed.
Meanwhile, Moscow was reinforcing its troops on the front line around the city of Sloviansk, one of the most important targets of the Russian offensive in the Donbas.
The report said that about 300 additional Russian military vehicles had been deployed in the area ahead of fresh attacks.
The report said that there had been few changes to the situation on the ground in the port city of Mariupol, where Ukrainian fighters remained entrenched in the Azovstal steelworks.
Artillery fire has been reported in the Zaporizhzhia region and around the towns of Mykolaiv and Krivy Ryh in the south of the country.