A senior Ukrainian official reported heavy fighting in the country’s northeast on Sunday, with kyiv’s forces holding their lines and making gains in some areas.
Russia’s military said it had stopped Ukrainian forces in the northeast. The army also said it shot down three Ukrainian drones that had tried to attack Moscow and damaged a high-rise building reported by government offices.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky described Sunday as “a good day, a powerful day” on the front lines, particularly near Bakhmut, where Ukrainian forces say they are recapturing ground lost when Russian forces seized the city in May.
Ukraine did not directly claim responsibility for the drone strikes, but Zelenskiy said the war was “gradually returning to Russia’s territory, to its symbolic centers.”
Russian forces launched the latest in a series of overnight airstrikes, hitting what authorities said was a “non-residential building” in the northeastern city of Kharkiv. The hit started a fire, but there were no reports of casualties.
Zelensky reported that the death toll in a Russian attack on a school in the northern city of Sumy on Saturday rose to two after rescue teams cleared rubble from the site.
Ukraine’s Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar said Russian forces were “trying to push us out” from high positions in the northeast held by Moscow after its February 2022 invasion, but which Ukrainian troops later recaptured.
The key task for the Russians, he told national television, was “to divert our forces from the Bakhmut area, where we have a successful offensive.”
“They have attacked relentlessly this week. But our troops resist the attacks and sometimes push them back with heavy losses,” he said.
Maliar said the Russians had suffered “no fewer losses than during the heated battles at Bakhmut,” which fell to Russian forces after more than 10 months of fighting.
Ukraine last month launched a counteroffensive focused on a push south to drive a wedge between Russian forces holding territory in the east and the annexed Crimean peninsula, and to recapture ground around Bakhmut.
But fierce fighting has also broken out around the Ukrainian-controlled northeastern cities of Kupiansk and Lyman.
Maliar said Russian forces were also “doggedly trying to retake” areas on the southern front taken over by Ukraine.
Ukraine, he said, had regained 200 square kilometers. (77 sq mi) in the south, but advances were limited by entrenched Russian positions and mines.
Russia’s Defense Ministry, in its daily report on military activity, said its forces had detected and deployed rockets to destroy an armored brigade of Ukrainian troops near Svatove, a key Russian-held city in the northeast.
Russian forces, he said, had also repelled four Ukrainian attacks near the town of Lyman, further south.
The battlefield accounts could not be independently verified.
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