Ukrainian forces push into Donetsk, fight Russia for territory it sees as ‘essential’ to win: UK intelligence
Ukrainian forces push into Donetsk, fight Russia for territory it sees as ‘essential’ to win: UK intelligence

Ukrainian forces push into Donetsk, fight Russia for territory it sees as ‘essential’ to win: UK intelligence

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Ukrainian forces have pushed into Russian-held areas of northern Donetsk in a move that the UK Ministry of Defense said on Friday was “putting pressure on territory that Russia considers essential to its war aims”.

Fighting in northern Donetsk has been described as “ongoing” as Ukrainian forces launch a counter-offensive on the town of Lyman, which Russia has occupied since May.

Lyman is about 30 miles west of Izyum in the northeastern region of Kharkiv, where Ukrainian troops have made major gains this month, retaking most of the occupied territory and forcing Russian soldiers to retreat.

Ukraine has announced control of the entire region west of the Oskil River, where territory remains contested from east of Kharkiv through the Lugansk regions.

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Armed national guard soldiers walk along a trench at one of the sections of a defense line outside Kharkiv, Kharkiv region, northeastern Ukraine, in August.

Armed national guard soldiers walk along a trench at one of the sections of a defense line outside Kharkiv, Kharkiv region, northeastern Ukraine, in August.
(Vyacheslav Madiyevskyy/Ukrinform/Future Publishing via Getty Images)

“Russia has attempted to ‘integrate’ Oskil into a strengthened defensive line following the withdrawal of its forces earlier this month,” Britain’s Ministry of Defense said on Friday.

However, over the past three days, Ukrainian forces have “secured bridgeheads on the east bank” of the dividing river, suggesting they may be in a better position to retake the rest of Kharkiv before advancing on Luhansk.

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The ministry’s announcement comes as Russia launches referendums in Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson, despite intense fighting in all four regions.

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Kharkiv was previously listed as one of the regions Russia plans to annex.

Western officials condemned Moscow’s efforts to illegally occupy Ukrainian territory by holding what they called “sham” elections in eastern and southern Ukraine.

“Voting” will begin on Friday and polling stations will open on Tuesday.

According to Russian state media outlet RIA, the question on the ballot paper will read: “Do you support secession from Ukraine, the formation of the region as an independent state and the accession of Russia?”

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Preliminary results will be released on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has condemned the election as a “farce” and Western officials have repeatedly pointed to a similar step taken by Russia during its 2014 invasion of Crimea.

Source : www.foxnews.com