Kyiv, Apr 28 (EFE).- The Russian army has in recent hours concentrated troops and weapons in Izium, near the Donbas, and has intensified its offensive to control this pro-Russian eastern region as well as southern Ukraine, Kyiv said.
The General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces gave an operational update Thursday morning on the various fronts in which it faces Russian troops.
It said Russian forces have transferred airborne units and up to 500 units of military equipment to the city of Izium in Kharkhiv region to strengthen its offensive capabilities.
“The main efforts of Russian occupiers are focused on the Izium direction. (The) Russian enemy is trying to launch an offensive in the directions of Sulyhivka – Nova Dmytrivka and Andriivka – Velyka Komyshuvakha,” in that same region close to pro-Russian Donbas, it said.
According to the General Staff, the “enemy continues to carry out offensive operations in the Eastern Operational Zone in order to defeat the Joint Forces, establish full control over the territory of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts (regions) and maintain the land route with the occupied Crimea,” which was annexed by Russia in 2014.
It highlighted that Moscow’s troops are increasing “the pace of the offensive operation. In almost all directions, the Russian occupiers are exerting intense fire.”
The largest offensives are in the directions of Slobozhansky, near Kharkiv, and in Donetsk which, together with Luhansk, has declared itself an independent republic, with both recognized by Moscow.
Meanwhile, the Institute for War Studies, a US think tank, said in its latest report that Russian forces have made “minor but steady advances both from Izium and in continued assaults along the line of contact in eastern Ukraine.”
They also seized several small towns directly west of Izium in the past 24 hours, it added.
“While this line of advance takes Russian forces away from their main objective of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts, they likely intend to outflank Ukrainian defensive positions on the highways to Barvinkove and Slovyansk,” it said.
It also assessed that “Russian forces are advancing methodically in several sectors but have achieved no notable breakthroughs. The capability of Russian forces to encircle large groups of Ukrainian forces remains in doubt.” EFE