Moscow/Lviv, Jul 27 (EFE).- The Russian army on Wednesday was continuing efforts to reinforce occupied territories in southern Ukraine amid persistent attempts by Kyiv to regain them by force, while maintaining its attacks on Bakhmut, a key stronghold to control the part of the Donetsk region that remains in Ukrainian hands.
“They are moving a large number of troops in the direction of Kherson,” Ukrainian presidential adviser Oleksiy Arestovych said of Russian attempts to prevent the Ukrainian counteroffensive in the south.
The administration advisor of the Kherson region, Serhiy Khlan, also confirmed the sudden rise in the number of Russian soldiers in the region, which has been almost entirely controlled by the invading forces since early March.
At the same time, the Russian army is maintaining pressure on Donetsk, Moscow’s main target after claiming victory in early July in neighboring Lugansk, where there are still small pockets of resistance.
“Russian forces gained marginal ground northeast of Bakhmut and are continuing to fight east and south of Bakhmut,” the US Institute for the Study of War (ISW) said in its latest daily report.
The ISW added that the Russians were still holding occupied positions in southern Ukraine and were staging assaults northwest of the Kherson region, bordering the annexed Crimean peninsula.
Ukrainian forces reported that they had partially destroyed a bridge in Kherson, considered key for Russian supplies to the southern city, the only provincial capital under Russian control.
Last week, Kyiv attacked the three Russian-controlled bridges leading to Kherson as part of a counter-offensive to regain lost territories.
Kyiv hopes to be able to “completely” liberate Kherson by September, although they have recaptured just 44 of the more than 600 towns in the region.
Meanwhile, British intelligence highlighted “tactical advances” by the Russian private mercenary outfit Wagner in the Donbas around the Vuhlehirsk power plant and the neighboring village of Novoluhanske.
“It is likely that some Ukrainian forces have withdrawn from the area,” the British military said in its daily part.
According to pro-Russian militias in Lugansk, the entire territory of the thermoelectric facility, one of the largest in Europe, came under Russian control on July 26.
In the last month, HIMARS missiles supplied to Ukraine by the United States have become one of the Russian military command’s main headaches, inflicting damage on positions that were previously unreachable for Ukrainian artillery.
Some sources in Kyiv went so far as to claim that Washington’s assistance was already turning the tide of the contest in Ukraine’s favor. EFE