More than 40 towns and villages in Donbas have been attacked in the past 24 hours, the Ukrainian military has reported, recognizing the “partial success” of a Russian effort to move forward on one front.
The General Staff said Russian troops were now trying to advance west of the Luhansk-Donetsk border toward the towns of Bakhmut and Sloviansk, and “the enemy led an offensive toward Verkhnokamianske, with partial success.” The Russians also advanced “into the area of the Spirne settlement,” it added.
Verkhnokamianske and Spirne border the main road leading west from the city of Lysychansk, which fell last week.
The Ukrainians also said that “the occupiers are advancing towards Vesela Dolyna”, which is close to Bakhmut.
The general staff said the Russians used artillery, mortars, multiple missile systems and air strikes to take out the Ukrainian defenses.
In its analysis of the military situation on Friday, the international security consultancy Cavell Group tweeted: “There is still heavy fighting on many of the roads and settlements around Siversk, now with heavy artillery exchanges also in this region. The situation here is very fluid. as Russia pushes troops westward.” Siversk is the last town of any size on the roads west to Sloviansk and Kramatorsk.
Cavell added: “A similar situation is occurring towards Bakhmut, with Russia slowly making gains against heavy resistance, but slowly securing more of the highway to Lysychansk and approaching the defenses of Bakhmut.”
The Institute for the Study of War said: “Russian forces continued to conduct limited ground offensives and air, artillery and missile strikes across all axes on July 7, and are likely to remain limited to small-scale offensive actions while setting military forces and conditions for a bigger offensive.”
In addition to their efforts to advance west from the Luhansk border, the Russians have supported artillery fire on settlements north of Sloviansk, with the Ukrainian General Staff saying that “our defenders inflicted losses on the enemy in their next offensive attempt and pushed back the invaders.” near Bohorodychne, “about 20 kilometers north of the city.
Serhiy Hayday, head of the military administration of the Luhansk region, said: “To reach the administrative border of the Luhansk region, the Russians are destroying the surrounding villages with artillery… few villages not yet under their control.
“But our forces are holding the fortress,” Hayday said, indicating resistance continues along the regional border.
Elsewhere, the Ukrainian General Staff reported further artillery strikes on settlements north of Kharkiv, and local authorities said civilians were killed in a rocket attack on the eastern edge of the city.
Regional military administrations reported incoming fire in both Sumy, in the north, and against Kryvyi Rih, in the south, with no casualties.
Also in the south, Russian forces continue to bomb areas of Kherson and Mykolaiv in an effort to reclaim recently lost territory, according to regional authorities, and several villages were “on the brink of destruction”.
The Cavell group ruled that “north of Kherson were phases of intense artillery shelling yesterday” [Thursday], but no significant changes in the field. Around Kherson City Ukrainian [forces] fired coordinated artillery at a number of Russian fortified defensive positions.”
pay attention to background here†