Ukraine says ‘complicated’ situation in fighting in east, some success in south

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Ukraine says 'complicated' situation in fighting in east, some success in south © Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Drone footage shows a tank on fire after it was hit by ammunition from the air, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, northwest of Bakhmut, Donetsk Region, Ukraine, in this still image from a video released by the Ukrainian army July 15, 2023. Aeri

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KYIV (Reuters) – Kyiv reported a “complicated” situation in fighting in eastern Ukraine and success in parts of the south on Tuesday as it pressed on with its counteroffensive against occupying Russian forces.

“The situation is complicated but under control (in the east),” General Oleksander Syrskyi, commander of Ukrainian ground forces, said on the Telegram messaging app.

He said Russia had concentrated forces in the direction of Kupiansk in the northeastern region of Kharkiv, but that Ukrainian troops were holding them back.

Since Kyiv launched its counteroffensive in early June, aided by weapons supplied by its Western allies, it has taken back more than 210 square kilometres (81 square miles) of land, Deputy Defence Minister Hanna Maliar said on Monday.

But Russia still holds vast swathes of territory following its full-scale invasion in February 2022, and Ukrainian troops have encountered heavily defended positions and minefields.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said the counteroffensive is “not succeeding”, and Moscow is also carrying out frequent air strikes across Ukraine.

Ukrainian officials have increasingly pointed to an intensification of Russian military activity near Kupiansk and nearby Lyman in the northeast. Both cities were retaken by Ukraine late last year.

On Monday, a spokesperson for Ukraine’s eastern forces said the Russian military had amassed more than 100,000 troops and more than 900 tanks in the area.

Syrskyi added that Russian troops were pulling up reserves in the Bakhmut sector in eastern Ukraine to try to stop Ukrainian forces advancing.

Military spokesperson Andriy Kovaliov said Ukrainian troops continued offensive operations to the south and north of Bakhmut, a small city captured by Russian forces in May.

In the south, after driving Russian troops out of clusters of villages, Ukrainian forces have had success in the direction of Mala Tokmachka-Novopokrovka and Velyka Novosilka-Urozhayne, Kovaliov said, without giving details.

“The enemy is putting up strong resistance, and heavy fighting is going on,” he said in remarks reported by Ukraine’s Military Media Centre.

Maliar said on Tuesday the situation in the south was stable but in Ukraine’s favour. A spokesman for the Tavria, or southern, command also reported some successes, saying Ukrainian troops were entrenching after advancing in the south.

He said Russian forces were focusing on combat in the direction of Avdiivka and Maryinka in the Donetsk region but Ukrainian forces were holding back Russian attempts to advance near Maryinka and Krasnohorivka, west of the city of Donetsk.

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