The Russian Federation (RF) has launched a new wave of ground attacks in Donbas, ending a pause lasting several weeks in assault operations, latest news reports and official statements said on Aug. 22.
The Monday morning situation report issued by Ukraine’s Army General Staff (AGS) said that RF ground units over the weekend launched or attempted to launch attacks aimed at gaining ground in the Donbas’ Kramatorsk, Bakhmut, and Avdiivka sectors.
The AGS statement added that Ukraine Armed Forces (UAF) units repelled the assaults at most locations but, that ground fighting still was in progress near the towns of Bakhmut, Zaitsevo and Mayorsk.
RF-controlled information platforms confirmed the uptick in its ground activity. The Wagner mercenary group, fighting house-to-house in the eastern section of Bakhmut, was “mopping up difficult sectors literally by meter,” the pro-Russia Readovka news agency reported on Monday.
Both Kremlin-associated and Ukrainian official sources reported a parallel spike in ground fighting in the southern sector. The Kyiv-associated Zaporizhzhia Regional Defense Command said Sunday attacks by RF tanks backed by artillery hit the towns if Hulyaipole, Tavriisk and Orikhiv, damaging civilian homes and businesses. UAF units repelled the assaults and were holding their positions, the statement said.
UAF regional commands on the Kharkiv, Donbas, Mykolaiv and Zaporizhzhia fronts all reported more RF air, shell and rocket artillery strikes against civilian infrastructure and UAF positions.
The northern suburbs of Kharkiv, one of Ukraine’s longest-suffering targets of Russian bombardment, was again hit by RF artillery rockets late on Sunday evening, following a rare 36-hour break from RF shelling. Three separate RF rocket salvos started fires in the city’s western Kyivsky district, Kharkiv mayor Ihor Terekhov said in a statement. Russian indirect firing has hammered Kharkiv almost daily since mid-April.
Ukrainian sources reported that RF artillery over the weekend struck the city of Mykolaiv and more than a dozen other towns and villages along the fighting front. In the city of Nikopol, in the western Dnipro sector, 42 incoming RF artillery rockets downed power lines, injured four persons and cut off electricity to more than 2,000 homes. Repair crews were working to repair the damage, the Tsaplienko-Ukraine news platform said.
Pro-Russian news platforms, similarly, accused the UAF on Sunday of targeting civilian homes and businesses. According to The Typichny Donetsk Telegram channel, a Sunday UAF strike hit near the city’s Auchan and Sigma shopping centers. The “Samooborona Horlovka” Telegram channel said that in Horlivka, more than 200 heavy UAF artillery shells hit the town, killing two civilians and injuring 19. There was no independent confirmation of the RF media claims.
Multiple sources reported that the UAF was not letting up in its campaign to strike logistics and command centers deep behind RF lines. Morning news images showed the latest target, a reported RF ammunition dump, burning on the outskirts of Donetsk.
On Sunday, UAF long-range strikes either hit or triggered RF air defenses at multiple locations across Crimea. Particularly embarrassing for Moscow was a blast in Sevastopol, the center of RF military might in the peninsula, taking place after a slow-moving UAF drone crashed into the roof of the RF Black Sea Fleet’s headquarters building and blew up. Sevastopol’s airspace is protected by one of the densest concentrations of air defense weapons in the RF, including the – on paper – fearsome S-400 anti-aircraft system.
RF officials said the drone strike did no serious damage and urged Crimea’s residents to remain calm. During Sunday, explosions linked to the UAF or RF anti-aircraft weapons firing at possible UAF incoming weapons also were reported in the Crimean towns of Yevpatoria, Bakhchysaray, and the peninsula’s capital, Simferopol.
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