Russian forces make little headway despite intense artillery and air strikes, Ukraine military says

Tim Lister and Olga Voitovych

On the 100th day of war, Russian forces appear to have made little headway in the last 24 hours as they try to break Ukrainian resistance along the border of the Luhansk and Donetsk regions. In the south, a Ukrainian counteroffensive is making progress, according to Ukrainian officials.

In Luhansk, shelling of defensive positions around Severodonetsk continues, according to the Ukrainian military’s Friday update. The military reported Russian air strikes in the area as well. But the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine claimed that “the enemy tried to carry out assault operations, suffered losses, and retreated to previous positions.”

The military reported damage to properties in Severodonetsk, Lysychansk and Hirske, adding that one woman died.

Oleksandr Motuzianyk, the Ukrainian defense ministry’s spokesman, said the Russians persisted in efforts to surround Ukrainian troops near Severodonetsk and Lysychansk. But Ukrainian units had thwarted Russian efforts to seize the nearby towns of Metiolkine and Bilohorivka, he said. Russian forces continued assault operations in residential areas of Severodonetsk but suffered casualties.

The military said Ukrainian units inflicted heavy losses — “at least 50% of the personnel, weapons and equipment” — on the 150th Motorized Rifle Division. There is no way to independently verify that claim.

In Donetsk, fighting continued along much of the front line, with 14 towns and villages coming under fire, the general staff said. Russian forces are trying to degrade Ukrainian defenses around Bakhmut and Sloviansk. Motuzianyk later said that Russian attempts to take two villages about 20 kilometers (or about 12 miles) northwest of Sloviansk had failed.

Altogether, the Ukrainian military reported that at least seven civilians were killed and eight were injured in the past 24 hours in Luhansk and Donetsk, but as usual gave no casualty figures for the military. It said that over the past 24 hours,1,472 people had been evacuated from areas of hostilities.

In the southern region of Kherson, the Ukrainians say their offensive continues, and attempts by Russian forces to recover lost ground had failed. The Kherson regional military administration said fighting continued in the Beryslav district.

“We had victories from the Kryvyi Rih direction for three days in a row, villages were liberated. The occupier tried to counterattack today, but got a very strong rebuff, and our Armed Forces pushed the occupier back even further,” said Serhii Khlan, an adviser to the head of the Kherson regional council.

Khlan also claimed that resistance inside Kherson was growing.

“Our people continue to resist in the occupied territories. Every day we see flags appear in the city of Kherson, slogans appear against the occupiers, as well as leaflets,” he said.

Ukrainian forces appear to have advanced several kilometers inside Kherson. The Operational Command South said Russia had shipped in nearly 30 infantry fighting vehicles to reinforce their units and were shelling villages far behind the front lines. It also said that Russian forces had resumed shelling of settlements south of Kryvih Rih and of the city of Mykolaiv, where two people had been killed.

In the northeast, Russian shelling around Kharkiv continued, killing one person, according to the regional military administration. About six settlements came under fire from artillery and rocket systems.

There was also renewed cross-border shelling of villages in the Sumy region.

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