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Intense battles are taking place in Ukraine's eastern Donetsk Oblast, President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a video address on June 8, amid reports that Ukraine's much-anticipated counteroffensive to regain territory is now underway.
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Ukrainian forces achieved some success around Bakhmut but suffered "significant" losses in personnel and heavy equipment, CNN wrote on June 8, citing U.S. officials. Although Kyiv's troops managed to overrun Russians in some areas, they encountered heavier resistance than expected, according to the report.

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Ground Forces Commander: Spring counteroffensive ‘not far off’

by The Kyiv Independent news desk March 11, 2023 2:27 PM 2 min read
Ukrainian servicemen from the 24th brigade are seen along the frontl ine south of Bakhmut near New York, Ukraine, on March 10, 2023. (Photo by Wolfgang Schwan/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
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Oleksandr Syrskyi, the commander of Ukraine’s Ground Forces, said that the defense of Bakhmut was necessary for the start of the spring counteroffensive, which is "not far off," the Ground Forces reported on March 11.

Kremlin-backed paramilitary Wagner Group forces have reportedly taken control of most of the eastern part of Bakhmut, according to the U.K. Defense Ministry’s daily intelligence update published on March 11, but they face a new challenge with the Bakhmutka River that divides the city in two and now marks the front line.

Ukrainian forces have demolished key bridges over the north-south rive, which runs through a strip of open ground 200-800 meters wide, according to the U.K. Defense Ministry. The area has become a killing zone and highly challenging to cross for Wagner forces, in the line of fire of Ukrainians from fortified buildings to the west, the update reads.

However, Ukrainian forces and supply lines to the west remain vulnerable to the continued Russian attempts to outflank them from the north and south, according to the report.

Yet, Ukraine’s Defense Ministry acknowledged on March 10 that the battle for Bakhmut is becoming more difficult as Russia keeps up its offensive and continues trying to “break through the defenses of our troops.”

Eight-month-long battle for Bakhmut has reduced the eastern Ukraine city into rubble.

Ukraine’s reports of tough battles in the Bakhmut area come a day after the military leadership warned that “every move and decision can radically change” the situation, and the battle remains “very difficult.”

Russia has been intensifying its offensive on the Bakhmut front since mid-January, slowly capturing settlement after settlement to encircle the city.

Capturing Bakhmut would mark Russia’s biggest victory since early summer when it seized the last Ukrainian strongholds of Luhansk Oblast.

Season of offensives: What to expect from the spring campaign in Ukraine
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