Ukrainian forces in the south are continuing their efforts to expand and deepen the pocket of territory they have taken toward the strategic hub of Tokmak.
Officials have said over the past two days that units are consolidating gains after piercing the first line of Russian defenses, consisting mostly of dense minefields, around the village of Robotyne.
“Over the past few days, there have been successes in the area of Novodanylivka and Novoprokopivka. The Ukrainian Armed Forces are consolidating there,” Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar said Monday.
Novoprokopivka is south of Robotyne, close to the next line of fixed Russian defenses and the next goal for Ukrainian forces — along with the village of Verbove further east.
“In Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions, the enemy is on the defensive, and the shelling continues. The intensity of shelling in the south remains at the level of 4,000 – 4,500 enemy attacks per week,” Maliar said.
However, Russian official accounts claimed that Ukrainian efforts to advance were being repelled.
“Ukrainian troops have changed their focus and are more actively attacking west of Verbove and east of Urozhaine but all attacks are repelled, and positions are held,” Denis Pushilin, the head of the self-declared Donetsk People’s Republic, told Rossiya 24.
Pushilin said the Ukrainian goal was to “go further, to the main point of the [Russian] defense line, and given the limited time before the weather deteriorates, to move in the direction of Tokmak.”
Meanwhile, Maliar said Russia’s offensive focus remained on the eastern front.
“The enemy is constantly trying to advance with varying degrees of intensity in the direction of Lyman, Kupiansk, Mariinka and Avdiivka,” Maliar said.
As for Bakhmut, she said fighting continued to the south and north of the city, with the Russians trying to regain lost ground “without success.”