“Entire territory” of Donetsk under fire as Russians push toward Bakhmut, says Ukrainian official

Many settlements close to the front lines in Donetsk have come under fire in the past 24 hours as Russian forces try to break down Ukrainian defenses, according to the head of the region’s military administration,

“There is not a single settlement in Donetsk region that has not been shelled,” Pavlo Kyrylenko said on Ukrainian television. “The entire territory is under fire. The enemy is destroying civilian infrastructure.”

He added that “the front is approaching the city of Bakhmut, where there were systematic artillery fire and air strikes” on Monday.

Bakhmut is a key objective of Russian forces as a gateway to the remainder of the region still in Ukrainian hands. Russian forces are estimated to be about 6 kilometers (3.7 miles) southeast of the town.

In its latest assessment Monday, the US-based Institute for the Study of War said Russian forces “made marginal gains south of Bakhmut but are unlikely to be able to effectively leverage these advances to take full control of Bakhmut itself.”

The Ukrainian military said Tuesday that the Russians were “creating conditions for an offensive on Siversk and Soledar” — two towns in the pocket of eastern Donetsk still being defended by Ukrainian forces.

“Enemy units replenish stocks of ammunition and fuel,” the military’s General Staff said.

Russian assaults in the area around the town of Spirne had been repelled, it added. Similarly, the General Staff said a Russian effort to break through north of Sloviansk had been rebuffed in the Sviati Hory area.

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