October 3, 2023

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Zelensky warns of Russian efforts to stop Kiev’s forces

Zelensky warns of Russian efforts to stop Kiev’s forces

July 15 (Reuters) – President Volodymyr Zelensky has warned Ukrainians that Russia is throwing all its resources into a campaign to stop Kiev’s forces from counterattacking, and a senior general reported new progress on the southern front.

However, Ukrainian military analysts indicated that things were not easy for the Ukrainian forces in their attempt to advance south.

Ukraine has launched a counteroffensive to retake swathes of territory in eastern and southern Ukraine that Russian forces captured in their invasion that began in February 2022.

It focused on capturing villages in the southeast towards the Sea of ​​Azov and areas near the eastern city of Bakhmut, which Russian forces took control of in May after months of fighting.

Russian accounts said its forces had repulsed Ukrainian attacks in the eastern Donetsk region, including around Bakhmut.

Zelensky said in his overnight video address after chairing a meeting with top leaders on Friday.

“And every thousand meters we advance, every combat success of every brigade deserves our gratitude.”

Reuters could not verify the battlefield reports.

General Oleksandr Tarnavsky, commander of Ukrainian forces in the south, said after the meeting that his forces were “methodically removing the enemy from their positions.”

He wrote on Telegram that enemy losses over the past 24 hours equated to at least 200.

“In the south, the situation is very difficult in advancing towards Berdyansk,” military analyst Serhiy Hrapsky told Ukraine’s Radio Nevada, referring to a port on the Sea of ​​Azov. Ukrainian forces hope to cut off a land bridge established by Russian forces with the annexed Crimea.

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“They are moving into the village of Ropoten. The enemy is offering resistance to stop our advance south.”

In its daily report, the Russian Defense Ministry said its forces had repulsed 16 Ukrainian offensives on the eastern front, including near the long-disputed town of Marinka and in the strategic village of Klishchevka, on the southern edge of Bakhmut.

(Reporting by Ronald Bobisky and Oleksandr Kozuchar); Editing by Diane Craft

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