A Ukrainian military spokesperson denied on Jan. 29 Russia's claims about the capture of Tabaivka, a Kharkiv Oblast village not far from Kupiansk.
In the past weeks, Kyiv has been warning that Russia is intensifying attacks around Kupiansk, aiming to encircle and capture this key logistics hub.
"The enemy claims that they have already captured Tabaivka. This is not true. Battles are taking place not far from this settlement," Volodymyr Fito, the spokesperson of Ukraine's Ground Forces, said on television.
The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) reported on Jan. 27 that, according to Russian military bloggers, Russia's 47th Tank Division had captured Tabaivka, a small village roughly 20 kilometers southeast of Kupiansk.
The same information was shared on Jan. 28 by the Ukrainian DeepState Telegram monitoring channel.
"In the morning, we received information that the enemy had occupied Tabaivka and was trying to advance toward Pischany," DeepState wrote.
"In the atmosphere of uncertainty, panic cannot be allowed."
According to Fito, Ukraine continues to repel Russian attacks in the area, fighting off 10 assaults around Synkivka, Tabaivka, Terny, and Yampolivka.
Moscow also claimed on Jan. 21 the capture of Krokhmalne, a village near the administrative borders of Kharkiv and Luhansk oblasts around four kilometers southeast of Tabaivka.
The Ukrainian military confirmed a retreat from Krokhmalne but said its loss has no strategic impact.
According to Fito, "the settlement of Krokhmalne is important for Russian troops because it is symbolic; they need to present some kind of victory before the (2024 presidential) election."
"Before the full-scale invasion, 45 people lived in the village of Krokhmalne, and today, there are no civilians there; the village is destroyed."
The U.S.-based think tank Institute for the Study of War (ISW) said earlier in January that Russia may soon scale up localized offensive operations with the aim of capturing Kupiansk.
According to Ukrainian commanders, Russia is particularly focusing its efforts on the nearby village of Synkivka.