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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Smoke rises following the explosion of a Russian tank after it was targetted by Ukrainian forces in Northwest Bakhmut, Donetsk Region, Ukraine, in this screengrab taken from a handout video released on June 30, 2023. SIRKO TEAM – 225TH BATTALI

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By Dan Peleschuk

KYIV (Reuters) -A Ukrainian counteroffensive against Russian forces has been “particularly fruitful” in the past few days and Ukraine’s troops are fulfilling their main tasks, a senior security official said on Tuesday.

The comments by Oleksiy Danilov, secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defence Council, were Kyiv’s latest positive assessment of the month-old counterattack although Moscow has not acknowledged Ukraine’s gains.

Ukraine’s Deputy Defence Minister, Hanna Maliar, also reported gains around the shattered city of Bakhmut despite fierce Russian resistance. Russian forces had captured it in May after 10 months of battles.

Russia, which began its full-scale invasion in February 2022, still holds swathes of territory in eastern and southern Ukraine but Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Monday his troops had made progress after a “difficult” week.

“At this stage of active hostilities, Ukraine’s Defense Forces are fulfilling the number one task – the maximum destruction of manpower, equipment, fuel depots, military vehicles, command posts, artillery and air defense forces of the Russian army,” Danilov, head of Ukraine’s National Security and Defence Council, wrote on Twitter.

“The last few days have been particularly fruitful,” he said, without providing any details from the battlefield.

Valeriy Shershen, spokesperson for the Tavria, or southern, military command, said Ukrainian troops had advanced by up to 2 km (1.2 miles) in the Berdiansk direction of southern Ukraine, despite fierce Russian resistance.

GAINS NEAR DESTROYED BAKHMUT

Deputy Defence Minister Maliar said Ukrainian forces were making gains every day in areas outside Bakhmut.

“We are advancing on the southern flank of Bakhmut. To the north, to be honest, there is heavy fighting and so far no advance,” Maliar told national television.

“… Our forces are encountering serious resistance. The enemy is pouring in all its forces to stop in the south and in the east.”

Russian forces, she said, were also making advances further north, near Lyman and in Svatove, where Russian troops have recently been particularly active.

In Makiivka, a town in the Russian-controlled part of Donetsk region, Ukraine’s military it had destroyed a formation of Russian forces. Russia-installed officials said one civilian died and 36 civilians were injured in the attack.

Reuters has been unable to verify the situation on the battlefield. Each side says the other is suffering heavy losses.

Accounts of frontline fighting from the Russian Defence Ministry said its forces had foiled Ukraine’s in five areas of eastern Donetsk region.

It also reported repelling attacks near Lyman and disrupting enemy operations in the Zaporizhzhia region, where Ukraine says its forces have captured a cluster of villages.

The General Staff of Ukraine’s military reported success in repelling Russian attacks in Kupiansk in the north, Bakhmut and near the contested towns of Avdiivka and Maryinka to the south.

Russia said on Tuesday Ukraine had attacked Moscow with at least five drones that were all shot down or jammed, though one of the capital’s airports rerouted flights for several hours.



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