The Ukrainian military says Russian units are being reinforced on the approaches to Sloviansk as they prepare to resume an offensive east of the city.
Neighboring Kramatorsk is the largest urban area in Donetsk still under Ukrainian control.
The General Staff said on Friday that the Russians were concentrating a force of up to 20 battalion tactical groups in the area. The Russians had tried to launch an attack on two towns north and northwest of Sloviansk – Barvinkove and Sviatohirsk – but were unsuccessful, the General Staff said.
It is unclear whether the Russians have taken more territory east of Sloviansk after seizing the town of Lyman late last month. The Ukrainian side claims that Russian forces used artillery in two areas closer to Sloviansk – Shchurove and Brusivka.
In Severodonetsk, the general staff stated that the fighting continued: “Under the cover of artillery fire, the [Russians] stormed residential neighborhoods in the east of the city. [The enemy] has partial success.
But the Russians had made no progress in their efforts to advance on other settlements in the pocket of territory that Ukrainian forces continue to defend – which includes Bakhmut, Soledar and Lysychansk. Once again, the General Staff said, the Russians had attempted to cross the Siverskiy Donets River and “create the conditions for its crossing by the main forces of the force”.
The river proved to be a major obstacle for the Russian forces.
Fighting has resumed north of Kharkiv, where Ukrainian forces have regained territory in recent weeks. The General Staff reported that Russian forces were trying to “restrain the advance of our troops towards the state border”. [The enemy] continued to fire on Defense Forces units using aircraft, artillery, multiple rocket launchers, mortars and tanks. »
The Russian action included an airstrike by Mi-8 helicopters on Ukrainian troop positions in the settlement areas of Slatyne and Dementiivka, rural settlements north of Kharkiv.