Russia takes more villages near Avdiivka; Ukraine confirms 'most difficult' situation

Russia made a surprise attack on Ocheretyne which helped it make significant gains

UKRAINE-RUSSIA-CONFLICT-WAR Firefighters fighting a blaze at a home after Russian strikes, in the town of Derhachi, Kharkiv region, amid the Russian invasion in Ukraine | AFP

Russia has made significant gains in the east of Ukraine, with its troops seizing three villages west of occupied Maryinka and northwest of Avdiivka. Kremlin's troops had entered the region a week ago pushing back Kyiv’s outnumbered troops to new positions.

At present, the Russians have captured the front-line village of Ocheretyne in the Donetsk region where fierce fighting is happening. Ukraine’s top commander Colonel General Oleksandr Syrskii wrote on the Telegram app that the situation at the front has worsened.  

He said things were "most difficult" but "not critical or catastrophic. "In general, the enemy achieved certain tactical successes in these areas, but could not gain operational advantages," Syrskii said, adding that Russia had committed four brigades to the assault. 

The Russian attack on Ocheretyne was reportedly a surprise one, which helped the Kremlin's units to bypass a network of Ukrainian trenches and establish a salient, reported The Guardian. They have since taken over the neighbouring villages of Solovyove and Novokalynove and attempting to push farther west. Ukraine’s eastern command said its forces controlled two-thirds of Ocheretyne, where there was fierce fighting.  

Meanwhile, regional analysts say the Kremlin is attempting to exploit a window of opportunity before US assistance is delivered. 

According to the Institute for the Study of War (ISW), Russia has been bringing in reinforcements and has a threefold advantage in some sectors. 

"Its recent tactical gains suggest an ambitious plan to encircle the Ukrainian garrison cities of Sloviansk and Kramatorsk in a summer offensive. Whether it will succeed is unclear. Russia is unlikely to overwhelm Ukrainian defences," the ISW said last week. 

It observed that the arrival of US aid in the coming weeks will allow the Ukrainian forces to address their shortage of munitions.

Telegram blocks bots

Ukraine's military spy agency GUR said on Monday that the management of the Telegram messaging platform has blocked official bots that opposed Russia's military aggression against Ukraine."Today, the management of the Telegram platform unreasonably blocked a number of official bots that opposed Russia's military aggression against Ukraine, including the main Intelligence bot," GUR said in a statement posted on the Telegram. 

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