Russia’s forces have halted their fighting at hotspots on the frontline as the war in Ukraine entered its 22nd month on Friday.
Russian forces continued to pound the battered Ukrainian town of Avdiivka but were unable to breach the defence of Ukraine’s troops as heavy fighting engulfed Bakhmut, military officials said.
“Basically, nothing has changed. Everything is very tough. As regards the city, there is an average number of eight to 16 to 18 attacks per day. Sometimes 30. We don’t have the time to count them,” said Vitaliy Barabash, head of Avdiivka’s military administration.
“I am pleased the defence line has been holding for a month and a half. It has not been breached, no matter what they say,” Mr Barabash said in a daily update of fighting on Thursday.
He added that 102 residents – a “certain record” – had been evacuated in the past week along the lone road out of the town.
Ukrainian forces have heavily guarded the town using fortifications briefly after they recaptured it from the Russian-backed separatists in 2014.
Ukrainian military officials said Russian forces halted their operations on three spots on the war frontline – Lyman, Zaporizhzia and Shakhtarsk – even as they have continued to storm Ukraine’s positions on these daily in the past few months.
However, heavy fighting continued to rage near Bakhmut, said Colonel General Oleksandr Syrskyi, commander of the ground forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
“Heavy fighting continues near Bakhmut. The occupiers continue their attacks. The enemy is trying to drive the Ukrainian defenders out of their positions near Klishchiivka,” the top commander said.
He added that Ukraine’s defence forces were “holding the line and inflicting heavy losses on Russian troops, both in equipment and manpower”.
Now in its 22nd month of invasion, Moscow has committed its forces since mid-October on capturing Avdiivka but Russian accounts of the fighting rarely mention the military operations on the town.
In an update on Thursday, Russia’s ministry of defence said its forces hit Ukrainian units further south in the Donetsk region.
After days of rain and wet weather, overnight temperatures in Ukraine have plummeted to 13C and frozen the ground. This will further help in the movement of battle tanks now.
Russian forces have focused on the east since failing in their initial attempt to advance on Kyiv. They hold a little less than 20 per cent of Ukrainian territory.
Source : Independent