Ukrainian forces advance 'slowly but surely' at front--official | Inquirer News

Ukrainian forces advance ‘slowly but surely’ at front–official

/ 10:30 AM June 29, 2023

Ukrainian forces advance

Ukrainian armed forces members gather during an operation, amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, in a location given as near Bakhmut, Donetsk region, Ukraine in this screengrab taken from a video released June 25, 2023. 3rd assault brigade/Ukrainian Armed Forces Press Service/Handout via REUTERS/File Photo

Ukrainian forces are advancing “slowly but surely” on the front lines in the east and southeast of the country as well as around the longstanding flashpoint of Bakhmut, senior military officials said on Wednesday.

Since launching an anticipated counter-offensive this month, nearly 16 months into the war, Ukraine says it has reasserted control over clusters of villages in the southeast.


Officers also say they are gaining ground along the flanks of Bakhmut, captured by Russian forces last month after protracted battles all but reduced it to rubble.


Ukrainian Commander-in-Chief General Valery Zaluzhniy told Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley that the that his forces had “succeeded in seizing the strategic initiative.”

“Ukraine’s defence forces are proceeding with their offensive action and we have made advances. The enemy is offering strong resistance, while sustaining considerable losses,” Zaluzhniy wrote on Telegram.

He told Milley about weapons needed by Ukrainian forces as well as demining equipment — Ukrainian officials have cited large tracts of mined territory as an impediment to any advance.

Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov, in an interview with the Financial Times published on Wednesday, said the liberation of a group of villages was “not the main event” in the offensive.

But President Voldoymyr Zelensky told the BBC last week that the counter-offensive was proceeding more slowly than hoped.

Deputy Defence Minister Hanna Maliar, speaking on national television on Wednesday, noted advances in sectors in the south designated by two occupied towns — Berdiansk and Mariupol.


“Every day, there is an advance,” Maliar said. “Yes, the advances are slow, but they are sure.”

She cited the recapture this week of the village of Rivnopol in the southeast, saying “mopping up operations were complete” and that the army was now well dug in.

The Russian military, she said, were diverting forces both to the southern front and to Bakhmut, where Ukrainian forces had gained ground in areas around the town.

“They are redirected their paratroops and assault brigades to both the south and the east,” she said. “They are bringing in their best reserves now.”

Maliar said heavy fighting was continuing in the east, where Russia has concentrated its forces for months as part of a drive to secure full control Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

Ukrainian military analyst Oleksander Musiyenko said Ukrainian gains on the fringes of Bakhmut were probably a prelude for plans to recapture other areas, including the long-contested towns of Aviivka and Maryinka.

“It makes no sense to enter Bakhmut itself now. The risk is too great,” he told Ukrainian NV Radio “But in the east, Ukraine has gradually taken over the initiative. Ukraine has improved its tactical positions without sending in significant reserves.”

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TAGS: Conflict, Russia-Ukraine war

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