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Ukraine war latest: Russia launches small-scale offensives in attempt to regain control

by Asami Terajima July 3, 2023 12:33 AM 4 min read
Ukrainian soldier covers his ears during the shooting from 82mm mortar in the front-line positions near Toresk, in Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine, on June 27, 2023. (Photo by Wojciech Grzedzinski/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
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Key developments on July 2:

  • Maliar: Ukraine 'creating conditions for a speedy advance' in Berdiansk, Melitopol directions
  • Ukraine advances on southern flank of Bakhmut; Russia deployed two air force regiments on the northern flank
  • Russia launches offensive near Avdiivka, Marinka, Lyman
  • Southern Forces report engaging in heavy combat near Antonivsky Bridge

Ukraine is attacking Russian forces in the Berdiansk and Melitopol directions in southeastern Zaporizhzhia Oblast, "creating conditions for a speedy advance," Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar said on July 2.

Maliar reported fierce fighting across all fronts as Russian forces were pushing back. In the southeastern front, for example, Ukrainian forces are facing "intense enemy resistance, remote mining and redeployment of (Russian) military reserves," according to the official.

The Armed Forces reported that Ukraine made some progress on the southern flank of Bakhmut – one of the axes where Kyiv is launching its ongoing counteroffensive.

The authorities said there was "partial success" on the southern flank near the villages of Klishchiivka and Kurdiumivka. On the northern flank, Maliar said Russia deployed two air assault regiments to prevent a further Ukrainian advance.

Ukraine had more success south of Bakhmut, where more villages like the southwestern Ivanivske are located, rather than in the north – an open field where every movement is easily detected.

The reports of Ukrainian advance in recent days come nearly a month into the long-awaited Ukrainian counteroffensive, raging on the Bakhmut front, the southern part of Donetsk Oblast, and in Zaporizhzhia Oblast.

‘It’s a lottery’: How Ukraine’s assault brigade counterattacks near Bakhmut
Editor’s note: The Kyiv Independent spent a day with soldiers from the 80th Separate Assault Brigade in June, and the story is comprised of interviews with them about their experience near Bakhmut. The soldiers are identified by their names or callsigns, and their deployment locations are not reveal…

The high-stakes operation, launched in early June, has found limited success so far though the main force has not been committed yet, with several settlements liberated from Russian control, including some positions occupied by Russia since 2014.

The Ukrainian counterattacks near Bakhmut may force Russia to decide whether to pull defending forces from other regions of Ukraine, the Institute for the Study of War, a D.C.-based think-tank analyzing the war in Ukraine, said in its July 1 report.

Ukraine's forces are advancing daily by "at least 500 meters" despite lacking military hardware like F-16 fighter jets, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces Valerii Zaluzhnyi told the Washington Post.

But Russian forces are also launching offensives, the Ukrainian authorities say.

Deputy Defense Minister Maliar also reported on July 2 that Russian forces were on the attack near Avdiivka and Marinika in the southern Donetsk Oblast, as well as near Lyman, a liberated city in the northern Donetsk Oblast.

The Russians have advanced near Svatove, a Moscow-occupied town in Luhansk Oblast, according to Maliar. The villages of Bilohorivka – a liberated village in Luhansk Oblast – and Sriblianka, a village located on the northern edge of Donetsk Oblast, are under fire, she added.

Fighting near the Antonivsky Bridge

Heavy fighting is raging near the destroyed Antonivsky Bridge in Kherson Oblast, according to Southern Operational Command spokeswoman Natalia Humeniuk.

Earlier on July 1, the U.K. Defense Ministry reported that Ukraine has "almost certainly" restarted deploying personnel to the east bank of the Dnipro River since around June 23 in what could be preparations for an offensive near the ruined Kakhovka Dam.

Fighting has intensified on the Dnipro River's east bank, controlled by Russian forces, according to the U.K. Defense Ministry. Russia also appears to be deploying forces to the area near Kakhovka to bolster its defense in the southern sector, it added.

The intelligence report came nearly a month after Russia destroyed the Kakhovka Hydroelectric Power Plant and the dam on June 6, unleashing major floods and causing an environmental disaster in the south of Ukraine.

"Combat around the bridge head is almost certainly complicated by the flooding, destruction, and residual mud from the collapse of the Kakhovka Dam on June 6, 2023," the report says.

The shape of the river has been altered by the destruction of the Kakhovka Dam upstream close to a month ago.

The Institute for the Study of War (ISW), a D.C.-based think-tank analyzing the war in Ukraine, reported for the first time in April 2023 that it observed reliable geolocated footage of Ukrainian positions on the east bank, indicating a Ukrainian presence in some small areas there.

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