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Ukraine war latest: Russia deploys reserves north of Bakhmut, launches over 700 strikes in Kupiansk-Lyman direction

by Daria Shulzhenko October 8, 2023 11:50 PM 6 min read
Ukrainian soldiers fire the SPG recoilless gun in Donetsk Oblast on Aug. 15. (Photo by Diego Herrera Carcedo/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
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Key developments on Oct.7-8:

  • Military: Russia deploys 'all available' reserves north of Bakhmut, launches more than 700 strikes on the Kupiansk-Lyman axis in one day
  • Children injured in Russian attacks on Donetsk, Kherson oblasts
  • Air Force says Russia may launch a record number of drone attacks in fall, upcoming winter
  • Duda says Hamas' attack on Israel diverts world's attention from Russia's war in Ukraine

Russia deploys "all available" forces and reserves north of Bakhmut in Donetsk Oblast, in an attempt to deter Ukraine's advancing counteroffensive there, Eastern Force Grouping spokesperson Illia Yevlash said on Oct. 7.

Fighting is ongoing near Bakhmut, with Ukrainian forces trying to thwart any Russian advance by inflicting "maximum damage" on Russian troops near the front-line city, according to Yevlash.

"The enemy continues to deploy counter-assault units in this direction to prevent us from advancing in our offensive," Yevlash said on Ukrainian television.

"They are employing all available forces and reserves because they understand that losing this flank could have quite diverse consequences for them."

Ukraine's military has slowly advanced south of Bakhmut while not being able to move forward north of the city.

Russia has also intensified its attacks on the Kupiansk-Lyman's direction of the front line in Kharkiv and Luhansk oblasts.

In just one day, Ukrainian forces have recorded 774 Russian strikes in that direction.

The number of strikes is in "record figures," Yevlash said on Oct. 7.

According to him, Russian troops "used everything available" to attack Ukrainian positions, including attack drones, mortars, tank artillery, rockets, and small arms.

Yevlash said Russian troops are trying to break through Ukrainian defenses at Synkivka, a front line village located eight kilometers northeast of Kupiansk in Kharkiv Oblast.

This is a key target due to its logistically-important railway, according to him.

Russia has been concentrating its forces around Kupiansk since mid-July, trying to regain positions lost during the Ukrainian surprise counteroffensive last autumn.

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Russian attacks on Donetsk, Kherson oblasts injure children

Three children were injured by Russian attacks on Donetsk and Kherson oblasts on Oct. 8.

A nine-month-old infant was wounded in the Russian overnight shelling of Kherson, local governor Oleksandr Prokudin reported.

A total of 11 people were injured, including the child's 27-year-old mother, Prokudin said.

The attack hit civilian infrastructure in the regional capital and the oblast, damaging residential buildings, household facilities, cars, and gas pipelines, according to the governor.

Later in the day, Prokudin reported that Russian troops attacked the village of Kindyika in Kherson Oblast, injuring an 11-year-old girl.

At around 5 p.m., Prokudin reported that the girl was in a coma with numerous injuries.

"(She suffered) explosive and craniocerebral injuries, cerebral contusion, open fracture of the left humerus, and multiple shrapnel wounds of the chest and neck," he wrote on Telegram.

Another nine-year-old girl was injured in a Russian missile attack on the city of Kostiantynivka in Donetsk Oblast.

Russian troops hit the city with an Iskander cruise missile on the morning of Oct. 8, damaging 19 residences, 10 multistoried buildings, a boiler house, a gas pipeline, a power line, and a car, acting governor Ihor Moroz reported.

According to the Prosecutor General's Office, Russia's full-scale war has killed 506 Ukrainian children since Feb. 24 last year.

Over 1,130 children have been injured as of Oct. 8.

However, the actual numbers regarding child casualties may be much higher since they do not fully account for territories still under Russian occupation, recently liberated by Ukrainian forces, or experiencing heavy fighting.

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Air Force says Russia may launch a record number of drone attacks in fall, winter

On Oct. 8, the Air Force's spokesperson Yuri Ihnat said Russia will likely launch a record number of Shahed kamikaze drones against Ukraine in the coming fall and winter months.

According to Ihnat, Russian troops launched over 500 Shahed drones against Ukraine in September alone.

"In the six months of the previous heating season, Russia launched over 1,000 Shaheds against Ukraine. We already had half of that number in just one month," Ihnat said on Ukrainian television.

Russian forces attempted to cripple Ukraine's energy network with massive strikes from October to February, leading to frequent blackouts and a lack of heating across the country.

President Volodymyr Zelensky has also already warned that Russia will likely escalate its attacks against Ukraine's energy infrastructure in the coming months to destroy the country's power grid.

"They cannot understand that Ukraine will not be conquered. But (Russian troops) will try to launch more attacks and have more attempts to bypass our defenses," Zelensky said on Oct. 6.

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Duda says Hamas attack on Israel 'diverts world's attention' from Russia's war in Ukraine

Polish President Andrzej Duda believes the extremist group Hamas' attack on Israel will help Russia in its war against Ukraine as it draws away attention from the war.

"This certainly helps Russia and Russian aggression against Ukraine. It distracts the world's attention," Duda said on Polish television on Oct. 8.

Hamas launched an attack of unprecedented scale on Israel on Oct. 7, infiltrating Israeli territory on the ground and with ultralight aircraft while bombing Israeli settlements. Two Ukrainian citizens have been reportedly killed in Israel.

The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) also reported that the Kremlin aims to exploit Hamas' attack on Israel to divert Western support and attention away from Ukraine.

Following Hamas' large-scale attacks on Israeli territory, Russian voices amplified messages blaming Western countries for neglecting conflicts in the Middle East in favor of supporting Ukraine.

In a statement posted on social media X, formerly known as Twitter, Russian Security Council Deputy Chairman Dmitry Medvedev claimed that the U.S. and Western allies should have focused on "Palestinian-Israeli settlement" rather than providing Ukraine with military aid.

"These Kremlin narratives target Western audiences to drive a wedge in military support for Ukraine, seek to demoralize Ukrainian society by claiming Ukraine will lose international support, and intend to reassure Russian domestic audiences that the international society will ignore Ukraine's war effort," ISW said.

Zelensky and other world leaders have already condemned Hamas' offensive.

"Whoever uses terror is a criminal against the whole world. Whoever sponsors terrorism is a criminal against the whole world," Zelensky wrote on Telegram.

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