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UK Defense Ministry: Fighting continued at ‘routine level’ despite Russia’s supposed ceasefire over Orthodox Christmas
Russian troops continued the war in Ukraine at “a routine level” despite Moscow’s supposed ceasefire over Orthodox Christmas, with one of the fiercest fighting raging west of the occupied Kreminna in the eastern Luhansk Oblast, the U.K. Defense Ministry said on Jan. 7.
Amid a Ukrainian counteroffensive in the largely occupied Luhansk Oblast, both sides are “high likely struggling to adjust artillery fire” around Kreminna since the fighting has raged on the “heavily forested terrain” for the past three weeks where visibility is compromised, according to the ministry.
“As is typical with operations in forests, combat has largely devolved to dismounted infantry fighting, often at short range,” the ministry said in a Twitter post.
This intelligence briefing of heavy fighting currently raging in eastern Ukraine comes amid Russia’s supposed 36-hour ceasefire from midday on Jan. 6, during which Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed that fighting would temporarily halt to meet Orthodox Christmas.
According to the U.K. Defense Ministry’s report, Russian commanders likely feel threatened by Ukraine’s counteroffensive around Kreminna since they see the contested town as “key for enabling any future advance to occupy the remainder of Donetsk Oblast.”
To the south of Kreminna, another heavy fighting raged around the largely destroyed city of Bakhmut in Donetsk Oblast. For months, Russia has massed its troops and equipment to capture the city.
Putin’s temporary ceasefire, which was swiftly labeled “hypocrisy” by Kyiv and the West when Moscow introduced it on Jan. 5, didn’t even last an hour.
Fierce fighting raged in Ukraine’s east and south while Russia’s attacks on residential areas continued to kill scores of civilians.