President Volodymyr Zelensky asserted on Thursday that Ukraine’s military faced challenges on the front lines in the east and south of the country but remained dominant in their campaign.
Ukrainian Advances in the East and South
Senior military officials reported significant Ukrainian gains in the east, an area that has been the focal point of the 17-month-old conflict, particularly around the Russian-held city of Bakhmut.
In June, Ukraine launched a counter-offensive in the east and the south, with the aim of advancing towards the Sea of Azov and severing a Russian land bridge between occupied parts of the east and the Crimean Peninsula, which was annexed by Moscow in 2014.
Russian accounts have claimed that Moscow’s forces successfully repelled Ukrainian attacks near Bakhmut and engaged in fierce fighting on the northern and southern fronts.
President Zelensky’s Address
In his nightly video address, President Zelensky acknowledged that Ukrainian forces encountered fierce Russian resistance in all frontline sectors.
“There is heavy fighting. They are trying to stop our troops with all their might. Very fierce attacks,” Zelensky said, referring to the situation in Bakhmut and other centers in the east.
“In the south, everything is difficult. But no matter what the enemy does, it is the strength of the Ukrainian forces that ultimately prevails.”
Russian Drone Attacks and the Need for Improved Defenses
President Zelensky also highlighted the recent Russian drone attacks, including an assault on shipping infrastructure in the Danube port of Izmail, which underscored the urgent need for enhanced anti-aircraft defenses.
“In total, the terrorists have deployed at least 1,961 (Iranian-made) shahed drones against Ukraine, and we managed to down a significant number of them,” he said.
“Unfortunately, not all of them. We are working on downing more of them — downing as many as possible. Our goal is to deploy more anti-aircraft systems.”
Efforts to Accelerate Ukraine’s Advances
General Oleksandr Syrskyi, commander of the Ukrainian land forces, is currently meeting with officers in the east to speed up Ukraine’s advances, which President Zelensky and other officials acknowledge have been slower than desired.
“In the Bakhmut sector, my efforts are dedicated to addressing the current problems hindering the pace of our advance, and resolving issues that interfere with the accomplishment of our objectives,” Syrskyi wrote on Telegram.
Consistent Advancement of Ukrainian Troops
Serhiy Cherevatyi, a spokesman for the eastern group of Ukrainian forces, stated that Kyiv’s troops are advancing “consistently and relentlessly” on the fringes of Bakhmut, which was captured by Russian troops in May after months of intense battles.
“Every day, we are covering hundreds of meters, and over the week, we have made progress in kilometers,” Cherevatyi said in comments reported by Ukrainian media.
Thwarting Ukrainian Attempts
On the other hand, Russia’s Defense Ministry reported that its forces have successfully thwarted eight Ukrainian attempts to advance near Bakhmut and neighboring areas. Additionally, two Ukrainian attacks were countered near Lyman and Svatove, farther north, and attempted advances in the south were also stopped.
Despite the challenges faced on the front lines, President Zelensky’s message remains one of resilience and determination, emphasizing that Ukraine’s strength ultimately prevails in the face of adversity. The ongoing conflict continues to test the resolve and capabilities of Ukraine’s military, but their commitment to defending their homeland remains unwavering.