The situation in the Kupyansk and Lyman sectors in northeastern Ukraine has intensified significantly in recent days, Col.-Gen. Olexander Syrsky, reported on Saturday, Oct. 14. Heavy fighting continues.

Syrsky is commander of the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) Ground Forces, the man credited for Ukraine’s stunning counteroffensive last year, which had brought those northeastern Ukrainian towns back under AFU control.

Following a two-month recovery period after sustaining significant losses, Russian forces initiated an aggressive offensive campaign near the towns Makiivka and Kupyansk, in the northeastern part of Ukraine.

Syrsky met with troops in an unspecified part of the sector.

“The main goal of the enemy is the defeat of our troops, the encirclement of Kupyansk, and a push up to the Oskil River,” the general assessed.

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In recent weeks Russian forces have targeted the bridges across the Oskil River in an attempt to cut off the AFU’s supply and exit routes.

“Every day, the enemy carries out dozens of attacks by assault groups supported by armored vehicles, with heavy mortar and artillery fire on our positions,” Syrsky added.

“Our fighters were ready for such a development of events and put up a worthy resistance to the enemy, which is suffering serious losses and has not achieved any significant success.

Before the war, Kupyansk was a little-known Ukrainian town 115 kilometers (70 miles) east of Kharkiv and about 40 kilometers (25 miles) from the Russian border. In September 2022, however, the town drew international attention as the high-water mark of Kyiv’s most successful counteroffensive.

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The Ukrainian assault surprised and broke through thin Russian defenses, liberating more than 6,000 square kilometers in a little more than two weeks.

Russian forces then reestablished a fighting line to the east of Kupyansk along the Zherebets River line and have been bombarding Kupyansk and adjacent villages regularly ever since.

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In September 2023 Russian army planners launched renewed assaults in the Kupyansk sector but have made little or no progress against Ukrainian defenses, which have improved continually since Kyiv forces took up positions there a year ago.

To assess the situation and formulate operational strategies, Syrsky conducted on-site visits to military units responsible for defensive operations. During these visits, he said that he engaged with unit commanders, received situation reports, resolved various issues, and made decisions on subsequent actions.

In a show of support, Syrsky met and spoke with Ukrainian service members actively engaged in combat missions. He presented awards, gifts and even cash bonuses to soldiers, thanking them “for their courage, resilience, heroism and exemplary fulfilment of their military obligations.”

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