Overview:

  • Russian units continue advances around Bakhmut
  • Moscow shells border communities in Sumy region
  • Estonia promises $1.3 billion in aid for Ukraine
  • AFU prepares for renewed assaults in Avdiivka
  • Riga slaps Moscow in the face with nationalization of shared cultural shrine
  • During Zelensky’s visit, Latvian president vows to rebuild Chernihiv region

Operations: Donetsk

As they have reportedly done over the past week of slightly slowed fighting around Eastern Ukraine, Russian forces again have moved the front lines forward in the Donetsk region, the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) reported on Thursday.

Geolocated footage shows Moscow’s troops marginally advancing southeast of Siversk, and along a rail line north of Vesele (southeast of Siversk) on Thursday.

Ukrainian Ground Forces Commander Col. Gen. Oleksandr Syrskyi reported that Russian forces are “transferring unspecified assault companies to the Siversk direction in preparation to resume attacks in the area,” ISW analysts wrote.

Reports from the field also described continued fighting near Bakhmut on Thursday, but the ISW registered no confirmed changes to the frontline in this area. Both Russian and Ukrainian bloggers posted about fighting west of Bakhmut near Khromove; and southwest of Bakhmut near Klishchiivika and Andriivka.

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Dozens of explosions from Russian shells and drones rock Sumy region

Moscow’s troops continuously shelled communities lying along the Russian border in the Sumy region on Thursday, state news agency Ukrinform relayed, citing Facebook posts from the Sumy Regional Military Administration.

“Throughout the day, Russians fired 11 times at the border areas and settlements of Sumy region. As many as 38 explosions were recorded: Bilopillia, Krasnopillia, Myropillia, Yunakivka, Esman, Seredyna-Buda and Svesa communities came under shelling,” local authorities wrote.

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Specifically, Russian units shelled Esman with mortars 11 times; Seredyna-Buda recorded six mortar attacks and five artillery strikes while Bilopillia suffered a drone attack. There were four artillery explosions in the town of Krasnopillia (four explosions) and nine mortar attacks in the Yunakivka and Myropillia communities (six and three explosions, respectively).

Estonia grants more than a billion euros in aid to Ukraine in productive Baltic tour

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In a productive tour of the Baltic states, President Volodymyr Zelensky met with Estonian President Alar Karis who said that his country will provide 1.2 billion euros ($1.3 billion) in aid to Ukraine between now and 2027.

“Within the EU, we have already provided assistance worth 5 billion euros to Ukraine. This support needs to be continued. Estonia's long-term contribution until 2027 will amount to €1 billion. Ukraine needs more and better weapons,” Karis said.

Zelensky also met with the leaders of Lithuania and Latvia in his surprise visit to the former Soviet Republics, some of the staunchest allies of Kyiv against Russia’s aggression.

AFU awaits renewed shock-and-awe wave from Russians in Avdiivka

ISW analysts noted on Thursday that, according to oft-quoted Ukrainian military observer Kostyantyn Mashovets, Moscow’s forces are preparing for another attempt at a “decisive assault” against Avdiivka by trying to bypass the pivotal city from the north, but that “Russian forces will struggle to do so.”

Mashovets warned of “a number of signs of the enemy’s preparations.”

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The blogger wrote that elements of the Russian 114th Motorized Rifle Brigade (1st Donetsk People’s Republic [DNR] Army Corps) and the 15th Motorized Rifle Brigade (2nd Luhansk People’s Republic [LNR] Army Corps) will likely try to attack between Stepove and the most sought-after position in Donetsk, the Avdiivka coke and chemical plant, to ultimately take control of that portion of the O0542 highway leading to Orliivka west of the city.

Neither Mashovets nor the ISW analysts believe that this plan is likely to come to fruition any time soon, given the outcomes of past such attempts.

Latvia promises Kyiv howitzers, helicopters, and drones and $550M in reconstruction funds

Latvian President Edgars Rinkēvičs on Thursday announced a package of military assistance to Ukraine that includes howitzers, ammunition and drones.

“Today I have also briefed the President of Ukraine on the upcoming assistance package, including howitzers, 155mm ammunition, anti-tank weapons, missiles, grenades, helicopters, drones, communication devices, generators, and equipment,” Rinkēvičs told a press conference during the visit of Zelensky to the Latvian capital.

Latvia’s parliament, the Saeima, has also allocated more than €500 million over three years for the reconstruction of Ukraine, the Baltic president announced, adding that the program will focus specifically on the Chernihiv region northeast of Kyiv, and one of the first flashpoints of Russia’s 2002 invasion.

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Additionally, the Latvian side will consider ways to assist the European Union with supplying artillery rounds to Ukraine, including the possibility of purchasing and further transferring them to the AFU.

During Zelensky visit, Latvia dissolves a local symbol of Russian power in the capital

The AFP reported on Thursday that Latvian lawmakers voted to nationalize the “Moscow House” building, previously a Russian cultural center and a surviving symbol of Moscow’s imperial power in the capital, Riga.

The Moscow House, financed by Moscow’s city administration to promote “cultural and economic cooperation” between the two capitals, was closed in March 2022.

Now, it will revert to the ownership of the Latvian transportation ministry, which previously owned the property. 

In a statement, the Latvian parliament called the Moscow House “an instrument of Russia’s foreign policy, with the help of which it deliberately spreads propaganda justifying its aggressive actions and pro-Kremlin interpretations of history,” AFP wrote.

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