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Russia aims to break through Ukraine defences in northeast: Ukrainian general

KYIV: Russia is aiming to break through Ukrainian defences in the Kupiansk-Lyman sector of the front line in northeastern Ukraine after a sharp increase in fighting there, the commander of Ukraine’s ground forces said on Monday (Oct 16).

Video footage released by the ground forces showed General Oleksandr Syrskyi meeting troops at an undisclosed location in woodland, and quoted him as saying fighting in the northeastern Kupiansk-Lyman sector had “significantly escalated”.

“The enemy is preparing, seriously preparing for offensive actions, bringing in staff,” Syrskyi said in the footage posted on the Telegram messaging app. “The main goal is to break through our troops’ defences and recapture our territory.”

Ukrainian forces recaptured the city of Kupiansk and nearby areas nearly a year ago, ending months of Russian occupation following Moscow’s full-scale invasion in February 2022, but Russian forces have gone on the attack in the region again.

The Ukrainian military reported in its daily update that fighting was raging along the eastern front, particularly around Kupiansk, and near Avdiivka and Mariinka in the Donetsk region.

Russia went on the offensive around Avdiivka last week and fighting there has been intense. A strategically important town with a large coking plant, Avdiivka is located in the northern outskirts of the Donetsk region, much of which has been occupied by Russia.

Ukrainian officials have repeatedly said Ukrainian troops are holding their positions in the east.

Ukraine launched a counteroffensive in the east and south at the start of June but in over four months it has reported only minor gains.

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