Ukrainian troops beat back Russian attacks near Bakhmut as Putin’s forces make desperate push


Russian forces in Ukraine’s eastern theatre of war are stepping up their assault around Bakhmut and have switched from defensive to offensive lines of attack, Kyiv’s military officials said.

The attacks are focused on Klishchiivka, a village on higher elevation about 9km away from Bakhmut, said Volodymyr Fityo, a spokesperson for Ukrainian ground forces.

Klishchiivka was recaptured from Russian forces by Ukraine in September in counteroffensive operations. Bakhmut had been taken by Russian troops in May and has faced some of the most violent fighting between the two countries.

“Russian occupying forces have brought in the necessary reserves and gone on the attack,” the spokesperson said, referring to renewed assaults by Moscow.

Ukrainian troops repelled 11 attacks in the past 24 hours, Mr Fity said. “The enemy is trying to dislodge our men from defensive positions around Klishchiivka,” he said.

This comes amid reports of growing numbers of Russian soldiers deserting the frontline in Donetsk.

Top military officials in Ukraine said there were growing numbers of Russian personnel who refused to conduct offensive operations. This has led Russian commanders to use physical force and barrier troops to push their forces to fight.

The military commanders have also increased their reliance on mobilised reservists and penal recruits.

According to Russian accounts of the offensive, their forces have beaten back more than 30 Ukrainian attacks in and around Bakhmut in the past week.

Ukrainian officials confirmed some success for its troops on the eastern bank of the Dnipro river which is now seeing territorial control by Kyiv’s forces.

Ukrainian forces had “carried out several successful and effective actions” on the east bank of the Dnipro nearly a week after military officials acknowledged their presence there, said another military spokesperson, Andriy Kovaliov.

He said Russian forces were making up to 10 daily attempts to dislodge Ukrainian forces from positions on the eastern bank.

Russia has been looking to launch a new offensive on Avdiivka, where it has already unleashed two waves of unsuccessful attacks.

“To be truthful, enemy’s attempts to surround Avdiivka have resulted in significant losses for them,” said military analyst Serhiy Zgurets, writing on the Espreso TV media outlet website.

Avdiivka has witnessed fierce fighting as the vast coking plant city remains under Ukrainian control, despite more than a month of Russian attacks.

Recent rains have left the battlefield ground soft and unsuitable for enemy equipment near the town, said Maksym Morozov, an official from Ukraine’s interior ministry.

Ukraine War 24

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