Ukraine says its forces making headway in south and holding gains in east

By Isaac M October 5, 2023

Ukrainian forces are making progress in the south as part of their counterattack to reclaim areas controlled by Russia in its 19-month-old invasion of its neighbour, military officials said.

The information comes a day after a top general’s claim that Kyiv inflicted more than 260 losses on the battlefield while advancing on the southern front.

Kyiv’s forces are also resisting Russian attempts to reverse gains on the eastern front made by the country since it launched the counteroffensive in June, according to the officials.

Meanwhile, Russia‘s defence ministry also reported a measure of success by its troops on the eastern front. It was however not possible to verify the reports independently.

Ukraine‘s southern group of forces outlined advances in the Tavria sector yesterday, while the latest drive presses towards the Sea of Azov to split Russian-occupied territory in the south and east.

“We have had partial success to the west of Robotyne,” Oleksandr Shtupun, a spokesperson for the southern group, told national television, noting that Ukrainian troops are “continuing to reinforce the positions they hold”.

“In certain areas, we are advancing from 100 to 600m.”

Yesterday, Ukrainian forces repelled Russian attacks in areas of the Donetsk region already recaptured by Kyiv and around the long-contested town of Maryinka further west, the latest battlefield report added.

The drive southward has been slower than lightning gains a year ago in the northeast. But Ukrainian troops have captured a string of villages and officials say they are readying themselves around Robotyne and other villages for new advances.

The advances come amid scepticism from Western allies who said that they are running out of ammunition to give to Ukraine. Governments and defence manufacturers now had “to ramp up production in a much higher tempo”, said Admiral Rob Bauer, Nato’s most senior military official.

“We need large volumes. The just-in-time, just-enough economy we built together in 30 years in our liberal economies is fine for a lot of things – but not the armed forces when there is a war ongoing,” he was quoted as saying by BBC News.

President Volodymyr Zelensky has shrugged off the criticism that the counteroffensive was not producing expected results, as the latest General Staff report claimed Russian forces had been unsuccessful in attempts to recapture ground near Andriivka – a village in the east recaptured by Ukrainian forces last month.

Ukraine‘s campaign in the east has focused on taking villages to facilitate the recapture of the devastated city of Bakhmut, seized by Russian forces in May after months of battles.

Russia‘s defence ministry said Moscow’s forces had struck Ukrainian positions close to Andriivka and a nearby village.

It also said it had downed 31 drones launched by Kyiv overnight over three southern Russian regions, but reported no casualties or damage.

A Ukrainian security source earlier said Kyiv’s forces had carried out a drone attack on the western Russian region of Belgorod and hit an S-400 air defence complex and its radar.


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