The Ukrainian military says Russian forces diverted resources to the battle for the key town of Bakhmut in the eastern region of Donetsk, but made no progress.
Brig. General Oleksii Hromov, deputy head of the Main Operational Directorate of the General Staff, told a briefing on Thursday that the situation in the east remained difficult for Ukrainian forces, as the Russians carried out offensive actions on several fronts, including Bakhmut, Avdiivka and towards Kupyansk, which was liberated in September.
“The enemy’s main efforts were concentrated on the direction of Bakhmut,” Hromov said. “Around Bakhmut, the defenders of Ukraine resist up to 20 daily attacks from the enemy, who constantly attacks the positions of our troops under the cover of artillery fire.
“In order to concentrate artillery fire around Bakhmut, the enemy has deliberately reduced the number of attacks on the positions of our troops in the Kherson and Zaporizhzhia directions in recent weeks, with ammunition being delivered in the Bakhmut and Lyman directions .”
Lyman is another Donetsk settlement liberated by Ukrainian forces in late September.
“More than 40% of enemy artillery attacks along the line of contact from Kupyansk to Mariinka are in the direction of Bakhmut,” Hromov said.
Other advances: Hromov said Ukrainian forces gradually advanced towards the town of Kreminna in the eastern Lugansk region. The city fell to the Russians in the spring.
Ukrainian units advanced up to 2.5 kilometers (more than 1 mile) towards Kreminna this week, Hromov said. The area was heavily mined by the Russians, according to Ukrainian officials.
Hromov also claimed that Russia is starting to prepare defensive lines around the city of Luhansk “in case the Ukrainian Defense Forces break through the defensive borders of the Russian occupation troops on the Svatove-Kreminna line and, as a result, bring closer hostilities” from the surface.
Hromov said that following Russia’s partial mobilization, trained units continued to be moved to the occupied territories of Ukraine. He said that in the southern region of Zaporizhzhia, units of the Russian territorial reserve were deployed.
“We are following the movement of enemy units. Currently, there is no significant threat of offensive regrouping in the Zaporizhzhia sector.”