Live Updates: Russia’s War in Ukraine

Local residents watch as smoke rises after the bombing of Donetsk, Ukraine on July 7. (Alexander Ermoshenko/Reuters)

More than forty towns and villages in Donbass have been attacked in the past 24 hours, the Ukrainian army reported, acknowledging the “partial success” of a Russian attempt to advance on a front.

The General Staff said Russian forces were now attempting to advance west of the Luhansk-Donetsk border towards the towns of Bakhmut and Sloviansk, and “the enemy conducted an offensive in the direction of Verkhnokamianske, with a partial success. The Russians were also advancing “into the area of ​​the Spirne settlement”, he added.

Verkhnokamianske and Spirne are adjacent to the main highway leading west from the town of Lysychansk, which fell last week.

The Ukrainians also said that “the occupiers are advancing in the direction of Vesela Dolyna”, which is close to Bakhmut.

The general staff said the Russians were using artillery, mortars, multiple rocket launchers and airstrikes as they tried to clear Ukrainian defences.

In its analysis of the military situation on Friday, international security consultancy Cavell Group tweeted: “Fighting continues to be intense on many roads and settlements around Siversk, now with heavy artillery exchanges also in this area. region. The situation is very fluid here as Russia is pushing its forces west.” Siversk is the last town of any size on the routes west to Sloviansk and Kramatorsk.

Cavell added: “A similar situation is occurring towards Bakhmut with Russia making slow gains against heavy resistance, but slowly securing more of the highway towards Lysychansk and closing in on Bakhmut’s defenses.”

The Institute for the Study of War said: “Russian forces continued to conduct limited ground offensives and air, artillery and missile strikes on all axes on July 7, and will likely continue to be limited to actions small-scale offensives as they rebuild their forces and lay the groundwork for a larger offensive.

In addition to trying to push west from the Luhansk border, the Russians came under artillery fire on settlements north of Sloviansk, with the Ukrainian General Staff stating that “our defenders inflicted casualties on the enemy on their next offensive attempt and repelled the invaders near Bohorodychne, “about twenty kilometers north of the town.

Serhiy Hayday, head of the military administration of the Luhansk region, said “to reach the administrative border of the Luhansk region, the Russians are destroying the surrounding villages with artillery…they keep firing with all types of heavy weapons” on the few villages not already under their control.

“But our armed forces are holding the fort,” Hayday said, indicating that resistance continues along the regional border.

Elsewhere, the Ukrainian General Staff reported fresh artillery attacks on settlements north of Kharkiv, and local authorities said there had been civilian casualties in a rocket attack on the eastern outskirts of Kharkiv. the city.

Regional military administrations reported incoming fire both in Sumy in the north and against Kryvyi Rih in the south, with no casualties.

Also in the south, Russian forces continue to shell areas of Kherson and Mykolaiv in a bid to recover recently lost territories, according to regional administrations, and several villages were “on the brink of destruction”.

The Cavell group estimated that “north of Kherson yesterday there were phases of intensive artillery shelling [Thursday], but no significant change on the ground. Around the Ukrainian city of Kherson [forces] fired coordinated artillery at some Russian fortified defensive positions. »

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Video: Why Ukraine's Donbass region is so important to Putin's invasion - CNN Video

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