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Ukrainian fighters repelled attacks by Russian forces targeting an important supply route for the eastern city of Lysychansk, according to the latest report by the General Staff on Saturday.
Near Bachmut, Ukrainian fighters halted infantry attacks between Volodymyrivka and Pokrovske the report said. A key supply route from Bachmut to Lysychansk passes those two towns.
Russian forces are now concentrating heavy fire on the city of Lysychansk, which is across the river from Severodonetsk, a major urban centre that Kiev’s forces recently conceded after weeks of heavy fighting.
Moscow’s troops are targeting the city with artillery and aerial fire, as the next strategic target in Russia’s aim to claim Donbass.
Russian troops are also trying to blockade the city from the south, according to the staff report. Earlier, Russia’s military reported it had blockaded Lysychansk from the south.
Ukrainian fighters are managing to hold off Russian forces in the Slovyansk - Kramatorsk - Kostiantynivka area despite charges from the north and the south.
Further south, Russian forces are trying to regain areas in Kherson they had previously held and then lost. Russia occupied the area at the start of the war but some parts have since been retaken by Ukrainian fighters.
In the view of the British Defence Ministry, Ukraine is likely re-configuring its defence of the Severodonetsk-Lysychansk area as Russian armoured units continue to make creeping gains on the southern edge of the urban area.
The analysts also said the Russian high command has highly likely removed several generals from key operational command roles in the war since the start of June.
“These includes the commander of Airborne Forces (VDV) General-Colonel Andrei Serdyukov; and commander Southern Group of Forces (SGF) General of the Army Alexandr Dvornikov,” the ministry said in its daily update.
“Command of the SGF is likely to transfer to Colonel-General Sergei Surovikin, as SGF continues to perform a central part in Russia’s offensive in the Donbas. For over thirty years, Surovikin’s career has been dogged with allegations of corruption and brutality,” the update said.
Concerns about brutality were also voiced by the wife of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who accused Russian troops of sexual violence in her country.
Olena Zelenska compared the invading troops to terrorist militia Islamic State, in comments to Die Welt newspaper. She referred to Nobel Peace Prize winner Nadia Murad, who was enslaved by IS, saying, “It’s terrible to say it, but many Ukrainian women experience the same under occupation.” “Because the Russian occupiers are no better than IS terrorists,” Zelenska said.
She also called on Ukrainians who fled the fighting to return once it is safe and help with reconstruction, saying they were needed. More than 1,600 schools, 600 hospitals and countless homes have been destroyed, she said. “But we are already starting to rebuild so that at least some of the hospitals and schools will be usable again by the autumn.”
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