Russia has set the goal of reaching the administrative border of Donetsk Oblast by the end of the year, Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Malyar said in a television interview.
The Donbas region, made up of Ukraine's eastern Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts, is the scene of the war's most intense fighting as Russia seeks to capture the entire region.
Russia invaded and occupied the oblasts for the first time in 2014, including the regional capital of Donetsk Oblast. Since the start of the full-scale invasion in February, Russia has occupied nearly all of Luhansk Oblast but has only managed to take parts of Donetsk Oblast.
Malyar also said that the city of Bakhmut in Donetsk Oblast is Ukraine's "eastern fortress," where Russia has concentrated the most military equipment and weapons.
"There was a slight advance (in Bakhmut), but the enemy was pushed out. As of today, the enemy is trying to surround the city, but they are also not succeeding," she said.