Constant Russian attacks put pressure on Ukraine’s eastern front

Ukraine War

Russian forces are launching a series of attacks on Bakhmut and other towns in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region, but Ukrainian troops are managing to hold back their advance, officials in Kyiv said on Monday. In a daily report, the general staff of Ukraine’s armed forces said Moscow’s troops had carried out seven missile strikes, 31 airstrikes and 73 attacks from salvo rocket launchers in the past day. It said Ukraine’s forces had succeeded in holding out against attacks on 14 settlements, including Bakhmut, which has become a focus of heavy fighting in past weeks.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has also said that Bakhmut was “holding on despite everything. And even though most of the town has been destroyed by Russian strikes, our soldiers are repelling constant Russian attempts to advance,” he said in a nightly video address on Sunday. Zelenskyy added that Ukrainian forces were also successfully defending the nearby town of Soledar, “even though there is even greater destruction and things are very difficult.” Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar also described the situation of Ukrainian soldiers near Soledar, which is some 14 kilometers (8.7 miles) from Bakhmut, as “difficult” on her Telegram channel on Sunday. She said Russian attacks were being carried out not only by the regular army but by troops from the mercenary Wagner Group. Ukraine must hold on to both the towns to protect Sloviansk and Kramatorsk, two major Donbas cities that are still under Kyiv’s control.

The fall of these cities would mean Russia had virtually captured the entire Donbas region, one of the goals Moscow publicly set itself at the beginning of its invasion last February. In his nightly address, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Ukrainian troops were withstanding “new and even tougher assaults” on Soledar, near the eastern city of Bakhmut that Moscow has been trying to capture for months. “I thank all our soldiers who protect our Bakhmut,” Zelenskyy said, noting, “All the fighters in Soledar, who are withstanding the new and even tougher assaults from the invaders!” Soledar is located in the Donetsk region, around 15 kilometers (nine miles) from Bakhmut, a city with a pre-war population of 70,000 that is now an epicentre of fighting. “Thanks to the resilience of our soldiers there, in Soledar, we won additional time and forces for Ukraine,” Zelenskyy added. “Everything is completely destroyed,” Zelenskyy said. “The whole land in Soledar is covered with corpses of the invaders and is scarred from the explosions.” Earlier on Monday, the Ukrainian armed forces said they repelled an attempt to seize Soledar, but that fighting resumed.

Credit | DW News

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