Russian troops advance amid intense fighting in Eastern Ukraine
Ukraine has reported that Russian troops are advancing in four areas in the east of the country, with fierce fighting taking place. Deputy Defence Minister Ganna Maliar confirmed that Russian forces were making progress near Avdiivka, Mariinka, Lyman, and Svatove. Maliar took to social media to describe the situation as “quite complicated,” emphasizing the ongoing intensity of the clashes.
Although Ukrainian forces have been engaged in a counteroffensive since last month, their progress has been gradual and a major breakthrough has yet to be achieved. In light of this, Ukraine has appealed to its Western allies to increase their military support.
Maliar also disclosed that Ukrainian troops were experiencing “partial success” in their advances on the southern flank of Bakhmut in the east, as well as near Berdyansk and Melitopol in the south. However, she acknowledged that Ukrainian forces faced significant challenges in the south, including intense enemy resistance, remote mining activities, and the deployment of reserves. Their advances in the south were described as “gradual” due to these obstacles. Nevertheless, Maliar emphasized their unwavering commitment to creating conditions for a swift advance.
The recent developments on the battlefield came after Ukrainian officials reported the first overnight drone attack on the capital city of Kyiv by Russia in 12 days. Fortunately, all the drones were successfully neutralized.
In another development, Russia’s envoy to the United Nations in Geneva, Gennadiy Gatilov, stated that there were currently no grounds to maintain the existing agreement that grants safe passage for Ukrainian grain exports through the Black Sea. Gatilov accused Western capitals of obstructing progress in reconnecting the Russian Agricultural Bank to the SWIFT banking system, raising doubts about the extension of the grain deal. Gatilov’s comments were published in the state-backed Izvestia newspaper.
Meanwhile, United States President Joe Biden is preparing for a three-nation trip to Europe, which includes a NATO summit in Lithuania. The primary focus of his visit will be to reinforce the international coalition supporting Ukraine in its counteroffensive.
Ukraine’s military commander-in-chief, Valery Zaluzhny, expressed frustration over the delayed delivery of promised weaponry from the West in a recent interview. Zaluzhny criticized those in the West who complained about the slow progress in confronting the Russian occupying forces, stating, “A lot of people die every day — a lot. Just because no decision has been made yet.” He also highlighted the stark disparity between the artillery shells available to Ukraine compared to the ones being fired by Russia.
Tragically, freedom of expression group PEN announced on Sunday that Victoria Amelina, a Ukrainian writer and war crimes investigator who was wounded in a Russian missile strike on a restaurant in Kramatorsk last week, has passed away. The missile attack claimed the lives of 12 people, including children, and left dozens injured.
On a positive note, Ukrainian officials have reported successfully neutralizing a new drone attack on Kyiv. Sergiy Popko, the head of the Kyiv city military administration, confirmed that all enemy targets in the airspace around Kyiv were detected and destroyed. Ukraine’s air force also announced that they had shot down three cruise missiles and eight Iranian-made attack drones deployed by Russian forces overnight. The air force provided limited information about the Kyiv attacks but acknowledged that three houses in the Kyiv region were damaged by falling debris. Kyiv had experienced frequent nightly aerial raids in May, although it had remained relatively spared from attacks since the beginning of the year.