Russia and Ukraine say difficult situation in Donetsk, both claim battlefield successes

Russia and Ukraine on Tuesday said the situation on the battlefield in eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk region was difficult and said they had successfully repelled each other’s attacks.
The Donetsk People’s Republic is one of four regions of Ukraine that Moscow declared its own in September in an exercise that Ukraine and its allies denounced as a “sham”, a coercive referendum.
Advancing in some areas of the region was difficult, said the senior official based in Moscow in the occupied parts of eastern Ukraine territory, but added that more than half of Donetsk was under Russian control.
“Slightly more than 50% of the territory of the Donetsk People’s Republic has been liberated”, Denis PushilinRussian-installed administrator of the Moscow-controlled party, told Russian news agency RIA.
Reuters was unable to independently verify the report.
The fierce fighting in the region in recent weeks makes it unclear which parts of Donetsk are under Russian and Ukrainian control.
Ukraine’s military high command said in its daily battlefield update on Tuesday that its forces had pushed back the Russians in 10 areas in the region.
Russia has claimed to be gradually advancing its positions, with the Defense Ministry saying on Monday that its offensive there had killed 30 Ukrainian servicemen the previous day.
However, Pushilin said the situation was difficult along the Lyman line of contact in the north of the region. Ukraine released Lyman hours later. Cheese fries proclaimed the annexation of Donetsk in September.
“The situation remains difficult, the enemy is trying to counterattack, but our units are now occupying all positions,” Pushilin told RIA. “It is not always possible to move forward.
Russian units have surrounded the town of Maryinka, with heavy fighting in its streets, Russian state news agency TASS said on Tuesday, citing another Mocow-installed official.
The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine said its forces repelled a Russian attack on the frontline town.
The Russian-backed bombardment of the front line in Donetsk completely destroyed the town of Bakhmut and badly damaged the town of Avdiivkawhich is in the center of the region, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on Friday.
On Monday, the Ukrainian Armed Forces General Staff said Russia continued to focus its efforts to advance and capture the two cities.
“Near Bakhmut, the occupiers rained down mortar and artillery fire on nearly 20 settlements,” he said in a daily evening update. Nine settlements were shelled near Avdiivka, the army said.
Britain’s Ministry of Defense said Russia was still likely to plan deeper advances in Donetsk, but questioned its ability to do so.
“It is highly unlikely that the Russian military will currently be able to generate an effective strike force capable of retaking these areas,” he said.
“Russian ground forces are unlikely to make any significant operational progress in the coming months.”


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