The Ukrainian military says that Friday saw a high level of rocket attacks and airstrikes by Russian forces in areas along the front lines.
Russia launched 27 airstrikes and 75 multiple launch rocket attacks in addition to artillery barrages, the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces said in its report early Saturday.
Fierce fighting continues around the eastern city of Bakhmut. The General Staff said that “the enemy continues to attack the positions of our troops, carried out several unsuccessful attacks near the settlements of Berkhivka, Ivanovske, and Severne,” and continued to shell more than a dozen places in the immediate vicinity of Bakhmut.
A prominent Russian military blogger, who goes by the name WarGonzo, said that fighters of the Wagner private military company had “attacked in several directions at once,” around Bakhmut. He claimed “a slight advance” to the east of the city and repeated Wagner’s claim that it now controls Berkhivka, a village north-west of Bakhmut.
“In all these areas, PMC ‘Wagner’ operated with the support of artillery,” WarGonzo said. “Thus, now the main pressure on the Ukrainian garrison in Bakhmut comes from the north.”
Unofficial Ukrainian military accounts have given a similar picture of the fighting around Bakhmut, with most access routes to the city from the west and north-west cut off.
To the southwest of Donetsk city, another zone that sees almost constant battles, the Ukrainians said that Russian units had carried out “unsuccessful offensive actions” at several places in the region.
Russian military bloggers have also reported offensive actions in several areas of this front, including Mariinka, which has been almost obliterated by the fighting.
The Ukrainian General Staff also reported an uptick of cross-border shelling into the Kharkiv region, saying 23 communities had been affected – including the border town of Vovchansk.
In the south, according to the General Staff, at least 34 places in Kherson region came under artillery attack from Russian positions on the east bank of the Dnipro. It also claimed that “The russian invaders are searching houses and seizing boats and other watercraft.”
The General Staff also claimed that in the occupied city of Mariupol, people were being denied new housing for lack of paperwork.
“Having destroyed more than 80% of the housing stock of Mariupol, the enemy offers the victims of these bombings housing in new buildings on the outskirts of the destroyed city. However, counting on the fact that the documents confirming the right of ownership were destroyed along with the housing, the occupants cynically put forward the requirement as a mandatory condition for obtaining new housing.”
CNN cannot verify the claim.
What Russia says: The Russian Defense Ministry said its forces have carried out attacks with aviation and artillery along the Luhansk-Kharkiv region border and claims to have “defeated enemy units in the areas of the settlements of Masyutovka, Ivanovka in Kharkiv region and Novoselivske” in Luhansk.
The ministry also claimed that Russian units had killed up to 60 Ukrainian troops, as well as destroyed a US-made M777 artillery system.
The Russian claims cannot be verified, but geolocated video shows Ukrainian units under fire in the area. It’s unclear whether Russian forces have been able to advance in the area.
The ministry said Russian forces had carried out artillery and thermobaric attacks on Ukrainian positions in areas west of the city of Kreminna in Luhansk, and it claimed to have inflicted heavy losses on the Ukrainians in that area.