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Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Malyar said on Telegram on July 18 that "the enemy offensive in the Kupiansk direction is currently unsuccessful."
The area is the location of heavy troop build-up by Russia. "The battles continue, but the initiative is already on our side," she added.
Serhii Cherevatyi, spokesperson for Ukraine’s Eastern Military Command, reported on July 17 that Russia was concentrating "more than 100,000 personnel, more than 900 tanks, more than 555 artillery systems, 370 MLRS" in the Lyman-Kupiansk direction.
The region was liberated in Ukraine's surprise counteroffensive in Kharkiv Oblast in September 2022.
According to the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, 18 combat clashes took place during the day, with Russia focusing its main effforts on the Kupyansk, Lyman, Bakhmut, Avdiivka, and Marinka axes.
Malyar also stated that Ukrainian troops advanced on the southern flank of Bakhmut.
Along the southern front, Malyar reported that Ukrainian offensives were continuing towards Berdyansk and Melitopol.
"In the direction of Mala Tokmachka-Novopokrovka and Velika Novosilka-Urozhayne, our defenders were successful."
Concerning the slow pace of the counter-offensive in the area, she added that "our troops have to move in extremely difficult conditions" and that Russian forces are making huge efforts to stop any advances.
"Remember the liberation of Kherson - it also took more than one day."