The commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU), Oleksandr Syrsky, says the front-line situation is “deteriorating” along the scarred frontier of the Eastern part of the country.

Russian forces are advancing toward Chasiv Yar, 9.3 miles west of the Donetsk regional town of Bakhmut that they conquered last year along a front line that spans 625 miles, the general said in a Facebook post on April 14 through the armed forces official timeline.

Col. Gen. Syrsky’s warning comes as Ukraine’s access to ammunition and equipment from the West, from which it is mostly reliant, is dwindling.

Chasiv Yar is the gateway to the more strategically important towns of Sloviansk, Kramatorsk, and Kostyantynivka of that region. The city stands at an elevation of approximately 227 meters (744 feet) but is being constantly bombarded by Russian aviation and is currently a “hot spot,” said Oleksiy Melnyk, a former Ukrainian Air Force officer who is a military expert at the Kyiv-based Razumkov Center.

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This most pertinent battle in the Russo-Ukrainian war is considered a “litmus for both sides,” Frontelligence Insight open-source intelligence research group said.

Russia has begun mobilizing about 30,000 soldiers a month as Kyiv, earlier in the month, passed a refreshed bill to bring more manpower into the fight.

The bill's framework is designed to limit evasion and reduce the conscription age from 27 to 25 years old. 

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The overnight aerial attack came shortly after Russian troops bombed a busy shopping centre in Kharkiv on May 25, which killed at least 12 people and injured 43.

Passed by a vote of 283 in the 450-member national legislature, it also shreds a provision to discharge those currently serving in the military. 

“The situation on the eastern front has escalated significantly in recent days,” Syrsky said. “The enemy is actively attacking our positions in the Lyman and Bakhmut [in the Donetsk region] sectors with assault groups supported by armored vehicles.”

So-called Russian “meat grinder” assaults with the use of massive personnel led to the capture of Bakhmut in 2023 and the industrial town of Avdiivka in February.

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The Kremlin has taken advantage of Ukraine materiel shortages and continues to advance along the front. Should Chasiv Yar fall, the remainder of Kyiv-controlled Donetsk Oblast will be vulnerable and signal victories dating to 2014 when the initial Russian invasion was launched.

“In order to respond adequately to the actions of the enemy and strengthen the defense of our troops in this direction, measures were taken to significantly strengthen the brigades with ammunition, drones, and EW [electronic warfare] devices,” Syrsky said.

Moscow currently occupies about 20 percent of sovereign Ukrainian territory, including the Crimean Peninsula.

Russia is estimated to have lost as many as 450,000 soldiers since February 2022, according to Kyiv’s figures, whereas, Ukraine has rarely disclosed its losses. However, President Volodymyr Zelensky said at a February news conference this year that 31,000 troops had been killed in the previous two years.

“Each of these losses is a great sacrifice for us,” he said.

US officials cited by The New York Times say that Ukraine’s losses are closer to 70,000 over two years.

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Both sides do not officially regularly disclose their casualty figures.

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