Real-time updates: Russia’s war in Ukraine

Local residents watch smoke rise after shelling in Donetsk, Ukraine July 7.
Local residents watch as smoke rises after shelling in Donetsk, Ukraine July 7. (Alexander Yermochenko/Reuters)

More than 40 towns and villages in Donbas have been shelled in the last 24 hours, the Ukrainian military said, acknowledging a “partial success” in Russia’s attempt to advance on one front.

The General Staff reported that Russian troops are now trying to advance west of the Luhansk-Donetsk border towards the cities of Bakhmut and Slavyansk, and “the enemy was advancing in the direction of Verkhnekamensky with partial success.” The Russians were also advancing “in the area of ​​the Shpil settlement,” he added.

Verkhnekamenskoye and Spirnoye are adjacent to the main highway leading west from the city of Lisichansk, which fell last week.

The Ukrainians also stated that “the invaders are advancing in the direction of the Vesela Dolina”, which is located near Bakhmut.

The General Staff said the Russians used artillery, mortars, multiple rocket launchers and airstrikes in an attempt to destroy Ukrainian defenses.

In its analysis of the military situation on Friday, the international security consultancy Cavell Group tweeted: “Fighting continues on many roads and in communities around Seversk, and there is now heavy artillery firefighting in the region. Russia is pushing back forces to the west. Seversk is the last major city on the roads to the west towards Slavyansk and Kramatorsk.

Cavell added: “A similar situation is happening with regard to Bakhmut, with Russia slowly gaining momentum despite strong resistance, but slowly capturing most of the highway to Lisichansk and closing in on the defenses of Bakhmut.”

The Institute for the Study of War said: “Russian forces continued to conduct limited ground offensives, as well as air, artillery and rocket strikes in all directions on July 7, and are likely to continue to be limited to small-scale offensive operations as forces and assets recover. set the conditions for a more significant offensive.

In addition to trying to move west from the border with Lugansk, the Russians bombarded settlements north of Sloviansk with artillery, with the Ukrainian General Staff saying that “our defenders inflicted losses on the enemy during his next offensive attempt and pushed back the occupiers in the area of ​​Bogorodichny, “About 20 km north of the city.

The head of the Lugansk regional military administration, Sergei Gaidai, said that “in order to reach the administrative border of the Lugansk region, the Russians destroy the surrounding settlements with artillery …. they do not stop firing from all types of heavy weapons” several villages that are not yet under their control.

“But our military forces are holding the fort,” Hayday said, indicating that resistance along the regional border continues.

Elsewhere, the Ukrainian General Staff reported further shelling of settlements north of Kharkiv, and local authorities reported civilian casualties as a result of rocket fire on the eastern outskirts of the city.

Regional military administrations reported incoming shelling in both Sumy in the north and Krivoy Rog in the south, with no casualties.

Also in the south, Russian forces continue to shell the areas of Kherson and Nikolayev in an attempt to reclaim recently lost territory, with several villages “on the brink of destruction,” according to the regional administration.

The Cavell Group assessed that “there were phases of heavy artillery barrage north of Kherson yesterday.” [Thursday]but no significant changes on the ground. Around the city Kherson Ukrainian [forces] fired coordinated artillery fire on some fortified Russian defensive positions.

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Video: Why Ukraine's Donbas is so important to Putin's invasion - CNN video