The Ukrainian military says Russian forces have diverted resources to the battle for the key city of Bakhmut in the eastern Donetsk region but have made no advances.
Brig. Gen. Oleksii Hromov, deputy chief of the General Staff’s main operational directorate, told a briefing Thursday that the situation in the east remained difficult for Ukrainian forces, as the Russians conducted offensive actions on several fronts, including Bakhmut, Avdiivka and toward Kupyansk, which was liberated in September.
“The main efforts of the enemy concentrated on the Bakhmut direction,” Hromov said. “Around Bakhmut, the defenders of Ukraine are resisting up to 20 attacks of the enemy daily, which is persistently attacking 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 to the Bakhmut and Lyman directions.”
Lyman is another settlement in Donetsk liberated by Ukrainian forces at the end of September.
“More than 40% of the enemy’s artillery attacks along the contact line from Kupyansk to Mariinka are in the Bakhmut direction,” Hromov said.
Other advancements: Hromov said Ukrainian forces had made gradual progress towards the city of Kreminna in the eastern Luhansk region. The city fell to the Russians in the spring.
Ukrainian units had advanced up to 2.5 kilometers (more than 1 mile) in the direction of Kreminna this week, Hromov said. The area has been heavily mined by the Russians, according to Ukrainian officials.
Hromov also claimed that Russia was beginning 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, accordingly, move the hostilities closer” to the area.
Hromov said that following Russia’s partial mobilization, trained units continued to be moved to occupied territories of Ukraine. He said that in the southern region of Zaporizhzhia, units of the Russian territorial reserve had been deployed.
“We are tracking the movement of enemy units. Currently, there is no significant threat of offensive grouping in the Zaporizhzhia sector.”