The Ukrainian military said Russian forces had diverted resources to the fight for the key city of Bakhmut in the eastern region of Donetsk but had made no progress.
Brig. Oleksii Hromov, deputy head of the General Staff’s Main Operations Directorate, told a briefing on Thursday that the situation in the east remained difficult for Ukrainian forces as the Russians carried out offensive operations on multiple fronts, including in Bakhmut, Afghanistan Vdivka and Kupyansk, the latter having been liberated in September.
“The main efforts of the enemy are concentrated in the direction of Bakhmut,” Khromov said. “Around Bakhmut, Ukrainian defenders are defending against up to 20 attacks a day from enemies who continue to attack our positions under cover of artillery fire.
“In order to concentrate artillery fire around Bahmut, in recent weeks the enemy has deliberately reduced the number of attacks on our army’s positions in the direction of Kherson and Zaporozhye, and ammunition was delivered in the direction of Bahmut and Lehman. “
Lyman is another Donetsk settlement that Ukrainian troops liberated in late September.
“On the line of contact from Kupyansk to Malinka, more than 40% of the enemy’s shelling was in the direction of Bakhmut,” Khromov said.
Other advances: Khromov said Ukrainian troops had made progress in the city of Kremina in the East Luhansk region. The city fell to the Russians in the spring.
Khromov said Ukrainian forces advanced 2.5 kilometers (more than a mile) in the direction of Kremina this week. According to Ukrainian officials, the area has been heavily mined by the Russians.
Khromov also claimed that Russia is starting to prepare a defensive line around the city of Luhansk “in case the Ukrainian Defense Forces break through the defensive borders of the Russian occupation forces on the Svatove-Kreminna line and thus bring hostilities closer” to the area.
After Russia’s partial mobilization, well-trained troops continued to be transferred to occupied Ukrainian territory, Khromov said. He said that Russian territorial reserves were deployed in the southern region of Zaporozhye.
“We are tracking the movement of enemy forces. At present, there is no obvious threat of an offensive build-up in the Zaporozhye region.”