The situation in Kharkiv, Ukraine’s easternmost area, is “difficult,” but Ukrainian forces are repelling Russian advances and have retaken several square kilometers on the eastern front in the last week, according to a deputy defense minister on Monday.
Last week, the Ukrainian military stated Russia was targeting Kupiansk, a town in the Kharkiv area. learn more
“The situation in the direction of Kupiansk is tough. “The enemy is not leaving plans to advance; the enemy is gathering additional forces,” Hanna Maliar told the national television network.
“We are confident in our defenders, but it is very difficult for them there and the enemy is not advancing there,” she said.
Maliar said that Ukrainian forces were advancing south of Bakhmut, the city occupied by Russian forces in May after a bloody months-long struggle, and had liberated another three square kilometers over the past week.
Reuters was not able to verify the reports.
Maliar said there were no significant changes in the situation in the south, where Ukrainian forces are trying to split Russian forces and reach the Sea of Azov.
“We should not underestimate the enemy,” Maliar said. “We should all be patient and support our armed forces.”
The Ukrainian military said on Thursday it had made gains on the southeastern front, pushing forward from the newly liberated village of Urozhaine.
However, a U.S. official said last week Ukrainian forces did not appear likely to be able to reach and retake the Russian-occupied strategic southeastern city of Melitopol during their counteroffensive.