Russian forces continue their bombardment of Donetsk region with over 200 strikes against just one area in Bakhmut in the last 24 hours, according to Ukrainian officials. The Bakhmut area remains “the focus of the enemy’s main attack,” according to Serhii Cherevatyi, spokesman for the Eastern Grouping of armed forces. Cherevatyi claims Russian tactics have not changed, with small tactical groups still “trying to deplete our defenses.” However, soldiers from the Wagner mercenary group are near Bakhmut, while Russian troops provide support elsewhere. According to Cherevatyi, Ukrainian forces have knocked out Wagner fighters which he claims are losing hundreds of men every day across the front lines.
Cherevatyi differentiates between the fighting in Bakhmut and elsewhere in the area such as Lyman and Kupyansk, where regular Russian forces supported by the Luhansk militia have reportedly made more than 400 attacks in the past day. In and around the town of Avdiivka, in the Donetsk region, Russian bombardments and air strikes against Ukrainian defenses, are both intense and ongoing. Despite the city being damaged and without power since May last year, many of the civilians, particularly the elderly, remain unwilling to leave.
Despite the difficulties, Ukraine is increasingly confident of its chances of victory. The US Senate last week approved a $500m military aid package to support Ukraine in its war against pro-Russian rebels, while last month, the country took delivery of its first US anthracite coal shipment in readiness for any disruption to supply from the east. It is believed that Russian military operations are now costing up to $5m daily, and Ukraine has argued that the military campaign is crippling the Russian economy. Ukraine has also sought a ruling from the United Nations International Court of Justice in the Hague, demanding that Russia stop supporting separatists in Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk and Luhansk regions, with a decision anticipated later this year.