Russian Federation attacks ground forward in the eastern Donbas on Thursday, according to Ukrainian official statements and news reports, as Kyiv blew up one key road bridge across the Severny Donets River, and prepared another for demolition, in an attempt to blunt the attack.
A Ukraine Armed Forces statement confirmed earlier reports and images on social media that sappers had blown up a bridge across the Severny Donets River close to the village of Yampol. Russian forces have been fighting with Ukrainian units in the nearby town of Liman for at least five days, in an attempt to break through to the regional Russian objectives, the cities Slovyansk and Kramatorsk, said Serhiy Haidai, Luhansk regional defense command head, in a statement.
The U.S.-based Institute for the Study of War on Wednesday published graphics showing progressive Russian penetration into, and degradation of, Ukrainian positions blocking attacks toward Slovyansk and Severodonetsk. Ukrainian official statements have confirmed limited losses of ground but claimed Russian units paid a high price in soldiers and equipment to advance.
Ukrainian units in general were maintaining a coherent defensive line and no RF breakthroughs had taken place, military leaders said. According to social media reports, another key bridge across the Severny Donetsk, north of the town of Slovyansk, was prepped for detonation. Russian-controlled media confirmed the report.
Oleh Sinehubov, head of the neighboring Kharkiv regional defense command, said that Russian forces were, beyond attempting to force their way across the Severny Donets River, attempting to advance west towards Kharkiv, in a bid to widen what he called the main Russian offensive aiming south from Russian railheads in Kupiansk.
Russian units also were focusing strong attacks on the town Rubzhne, on the outskirts of the regional center Severodonetsk, Hadai said. For the three days in a row, Russian units have launched three or four storming attempts at Rubizhne every 24 hours, each time to be repelled with losses, he said. Haidai and social media from Ukrainian units in the Rubizhne sector reported Russian prisoners and combat vehicles were captured in Wednesday's fighting.
Elsewhere in the Donbas sector, Russian artillery pounded Ukrainian positions near the towns Popasna and Marynka, and Russian ground units captured the villages Spivakova and Zavody, a statement from the Ukraine Army General Staff said. This was the second day in a row the General Staff's office, one of Ukraine’s most careful and conservative official military information sources, admitted that Ukraine had lost ground to Russian forces in the Donbas sector.
According to Ukrainian military unit social media, Russian forces have changed attack tactics from the early days of the war, preceding any attempt at advance with heavy artillery fire and airstrikes, and trying to keep ground forces under cover as much as possible.
In late February and March, Ukraine's drone-controlled artillery inflicted heavy casualties on Russian forces which, at the time, moved along open roads in columns, at times, of hundreds of vehicles.