‘Everywhere, things are hot’: Ukraine battles Russian onslaught

Kyiv’s forces are fighting a fierce onslaught by Russian troops in parts of northeastern Ukraine, even as they make advances in the area around Bakhmut and in the south, Ukraine’s deputy defence minister has said, describing the situation as “complicated”.

Hanna Maliar said that Russian troops were advancing near Avdiivka, Marinka, Lyman and Svatove.

“Fierce fighting is going on everywhere,” Maliar wrote on social media on Sunday, adding: “The situation is quite complicated”.

Russian accounts of the front-line fighting reported success in containing Ukrainian troops in the northeast and said its forces had pushed back Ukrainian attacks near villages ringing Bakhmut and in areas further south, particularly the strategic hilltop town of Vuhlear.

Ukraine’s military has been engaged in a counteroffensive to recapture areas of the east and south seized by Russia since it began its full-scale invasion in February 2022.

Initial Ukrainian advances have focused on taking back clusters of villages in the south, but have so far failed to produce a major breakthrough.

Maliar said Ukrainian troops were advancing with “partial success” on the southern flank of Bakhmut in the east and near Berdyansk and Melitopol in the south.

In the south, she said Ukrainian forces faced “intense enemy resistance, remote mining, deploying of reserves” and were only advancing “gradually”.

“Everywhere, things are hot,” she said.

General Oleksander Tarnavskiy, responsible for the southern front, said Ukrainian forces were “systematically destroying the enemy” and reported the deaths of several hundred Russian forces over the last 24 hours.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Ukraine’s commander-in-chief, General Valery Zaluzhniy, have reported steady, if slow, advances in the campaign. The president has acknowledged the relatively limited progress but said the fight is “not a Hollywood movie” with instant success.

Ukraine has also had to endure persistent Russian air attacks on cities, although the Kremlin denies attacking civilian targets.

On Sunday, Ukrainian writer Victoria Amelina died from injuries sustained when a Russian missile hit a busy pizza restaurant in the eastern city of Kramatorsk last week.

The attack killed 12 people, some of them children, and injured dozens. Amelina’s death raises the death toll to 13.

“With our greatest pain, we inform you that Ukrainian writer Victoria Amelina passed away on July 1st in Mechnikov Hospital in Dnipro,” PEN Ukraine said in a statement on its Facebook page.

The 37-year-old, who was also a war crimes investigator, had been in the city with a delegation of Colombian journalists and writers, PEN said.

Her novel “Dom’s Dream Kingdom” was published in 2017 and shortlisted for the UNESCO City of Literature Prize and the European Union Prize for Literature, according to PEN.

Her poems, prose and essays have been translated into English, German, Polish and other languages.

Since 2022, she had been working to document Russian war crimes since the invasion and advocate for accountability, PEN said.

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA AND NEWS AGENCIES

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