Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Russia steps up offensive on east Ukraine village, Kyiv says its forces holding out By Reuters

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KYIV (Reuters) – Russia has sent more troops to Ocheretyne in eastern Ukraine to reinforce an offensive there, but Kyiv’s forces largely hold the village and expect U.S. arms deliveries to turn the tide in their favour, the Ukrainian military said on Saturday.

Russian troops have slowly advanced through at least half a dozen villages on the eastern front since capturing the bastion town of Avdiivka in February as exhausted Ukrainian forces rationed dwindling artillery supplies.

Fierce fighting raged in Ocheretyne on Saturday but Nazar Voloshyn, spokesman for the eastern command, said Ukrainian forces had the situation “under control” and controlled two-thirds of the village.

Ukrainian troops, he said, were able to shell the part of the village seized by Russian forces and that “the enemy is blocked and measures are being taken to kick them out.”

To the north on the eastern front, Russian forces were trying to capture the strategic town of Chasiv Yar at all costs, though they had not entered the town, he said.

Chasiv Yar, which lies on high ground, is seen as a gateway to the remaining important cities controlled by Ukraine in the Donbas, which Russia seeks to capture in full folllwing its full-scale invasion in February 2022.

Ukrainian troops are outgunned and outnumbered, but received a huge morale boost when the United States finally signed off on a major aid package this week that contains military assistance.

Voloshyn said Ukraine expected foreign military aid, including ammunition, shells and weapons, to help turn around the situation on the Bakhmut and Avdiivka fronts and in other areas.

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President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has said Russia may be preparing an offensive in late May or in June.

Reuters could not independently verify Voloshyn’s battlefield assertions.

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