Ukrainian forces continue to push east into the occupied parts of Kharkiv, Donetsk, and Luhansk oblasts after making successful crossings of the Oskil and Siversky Donets rivers in several locations, the U.K.'s Defense Intelligence wrote in their daily brief.
These advances come despite Russian efforts to consolidate defensive lines after Ukraine's rapid counteroffensive in Kharkiv Oblast earlier in September.
"Russia is mounting a more substantive defense than previously," the report wrote, "likely because the Ukrainian advance now threatens part of Luhansk Oblast," where voting in sham referenda on joining the Russian Federation was concluded on Sept. 27.
Despite the threat to the northern flank of occupied Donbas, Russian forces continue to grind forward in an attempt to take the front-line city of Bakhmut, in Donetsk Oblast, according to the brief.
"This is likely due to political pressure, as Russia is using forces that could otherwise reinforce the other flanks," the report said.