Ukraine retakes seven villages, makes small gains in Bakhmut counteroffensive

A Ukrainian serviceman sits atop a tank, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, in Donetsk region, Ukraine June 12, 2023.—Reuters 

Ukraine announced on Monday that it had successfully retaken seven villages in eastern and southern regions from Russian forces since the weekend, marking significant territorial gains. 

In a long-awaited counteroffensive, Ukrainian troops, armed with Western weapons, launched an operation to reclaim lost territory and reported making small advancements near the eastern city of Bakhmut.

Deputy Defense Minister Ganna Malyar confirmed the liberation of seven settlements, including Lobkovo, Levadne, and Novodarivka in the southern Zaporizhzhia region. 

Additionally, Ukrainian forces regained control over the village of Storozheve in the south of the Donetsk region, near three villages recaptured on Sunday. Malyar stated that the area of territory brought back under Ukrainian control amounted to approximately 90 square kilometres.

The Ukrainian Defense Ministry revealed that their forces had advanced between 250 to 700 meters towards the flashpoint city of Bakhmut. However, Russia claimed to have repelled Ukrainian attacks in the same area, specifically in the Donetsk region near Velyka Novosilka. Russian authorities also reported fending off Ukrainian assaults near the neighbouring southern region of Zaporizhzhia, particularly around the village of Levadne. Independent verification of these conflicting claims remains challenging.

The US-based Institute for the Study of War analyzed the situation and confirmed Ukrainian advances in western Donetsk Oblast and western Zaporizhzhia Oblast, which were acknowledged by Russian sources but downplayed. The ongoing conflict between Ukraine and Russia has been characterised by territorial disputes and frequent military clashes as both sides strive to gain control over strategic areas.

These recent territorial gains by Ukrainian forces signify a significant development in the conflict, demonstrating Ukraine’s determination to push back against Russian aggression. The situation remains fluid, and further military actions are anticipated as both sides continue their power struggle in the region. The international community closely monitors these developments, hoping for a peaceful resolution to the conflict and long-lasting stability in the affected regions.

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