Overview:

  • 'Heated' fighting in Avdiivka as Russia tries to 'surround' city
  • Kyiv reports heavy fighting near Lyman and Kupyansk
  • North Korea sends over 1000 containers of weapons to Russia, White House claims
  • Ukraine hits Russian tugboat
  • Putin denies Russia behind Baltic pipeline leak

'Heated' fighting in Avdiivka as Russia tries to 'surround' city

Kyiv reported "heated" fighting around its eastern city of Avdiivka Saturday, saying Russian forces had "not stopped assaulting" the symbolic industrial hub for days in their attempt to surround it.

Ukraine last week said Russia had stepped up assaults on the frontline city, which lies just 15 kilometres (nine miles) from Moscow-held Donetsk, AFP reports.

Avdiivka has been a symbol of Ukrainian resistance since 2014, after it briefly fell to Russian-backed separatists. Russian forces now control territory to the east, north and south of Avdiivka.

“For the fifth day already, the enemy has not stopped either assaulting or shelling positions around the city,” Vitaliy Barabash, the head of the city, said on Ukrainian television.

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“It is very heated, very heated,” he said of the fighting. "They are trying to surround the city," Barabash added, claiming that Moscow was deploying "more new forces" to the area.

He described intense battles: “There is certainly no silence there at all. Shooting battles continue, both from the north and from the south of the city.”

Despite the large resources Russia is throwing into the battle, things are not going well for Moscow’s forces.

As Kyiv Post reported on Friday, Ukrainian troops fighting from thick fortifications in the eastern sector have used massive artillery strikes backed by anti-tank missiles and drone swarms to hand the Russian army its worst battlefield defeat in nine months.

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Kyiv reports heavy fighting near Lyman and Kupyansk

The situation in the Kupyansk and Lyman sectors of the frontline has significantly worsened in recent days, as reported by the commander of the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) Ground Forces, Colonel-General Alexander Syrsky on Saturday, Oct. 14.

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Following a two-month recovery period after sustaining significant losses, Russian forces initiated an aggressive offensive campaign near Makiivka and the Kupyansk region.

"Heavy fighting continue,” Syrsky said. “The main goal of the enemy is the defeat of the grouping of our troops, the encirclement of Kupyansk and the exit to the border of the Oskol River.

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

Read the full report here.

North Korea sends over 1000 containers of weapons to Russia, White House claims

North Korea has transferred a large consignment of weapons and ammunition to Russia, the White House has claimed.

"North Korea has supplied Russia with more than a thousand containers of military equipment and ammunition," the Associated Press quoted John Kirby, the Coordinator for Strategic Communications of the White House National Security Council, as saying during a press briefing on Friday.

The US presented a series of satellite images to the press showing the transfer of military equipment, Reuters reports

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Read the full story here.

Ukraine hits Russian tugboat in Sevastopol

Ukraine’s forces successfully struck a Russian tugboat as well as two other ships in attacks on Moscow’s Black Sea Fleet during the week.

Spokesman for the Naval forces, Captain 3rd rank Dmytro Pletenchuk, announced the news on Saturday, a day after the SBU confirmed it hit the missile carrier Buyan and the Pavel Derzhavin ship using “experimental weaponry.”

“The Pavel Derzhavin patrol ship was hit twice,” Pletenchuk said. “Only from the second time did the crew realize it was probably time for them to get out of our Sevastopol.

“And we also confirm the hit on the Muru tugboat (the Black Sea fleet’s rescue tugboat Professor Nikolay Muru - ed.), which is also currently being towed away. She also sustained damage.”

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Putin denies Russia behind Baltic pipeline leak

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Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday denied Moscow was responsible for a rupture on a gas pipeline between Finland and Estonia under the Baltic Sea, calling the accusation “complete nonsense.”

Helsinki has said it believes last weekend's leak on the Balticconnector gas pipeline was caused by “external” activity, sparking suspicions of Russian involvement, AFP reports.

“That's complete nonsense,” Putin told journalists on a trip to Kyrgyzstan.

“To be honest, I didn't even know this pipeline existed because it's small in volume,” he added.

NATO members Finland and Estonia are investigating the incident on the pipeline and have cautioned against jumping to conclusions before the official results.

Finnish defence minister Antti Hakkanen told AFP on Thursday that Helsinki's investigation should yield answers on the cause within weeks.

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