The Dallas Morning News

Battles ‘heating up’ in Donbas

Analysts see Russia amping up pressure ahead of new offensive

- By SUSIE BLANN The Associated Press

KYIV, Ukraine — Russian forces are keeping Ukrainian troops tied down with attacks in the eastern Donbas region as Moscow assembles additional combat power there for an expected offensive in the coming weeks, Ukrainian officials said Monday.

Intense fighting that has been raging for weeks continued around the city of Bakhmut and the nearby towns of Soledar and Vuhledar, Ukraine’s presidenti­al office said.

They are located in the Donetsk region, which with neighborin­g Luhansk region makes up the Donbas, an industrial area bordering Russia.

“The battles for the region are heating up,” Donetsk Gov. Pavlo Kyrylenko said in televised remarks, adding that “the Russians are throwing new units into the battle and eradicatin­g our towns and villages.”

In Luhansk, Gov. Serhii Haidai said shelling there had subsided because “the Russians have been saving ammunition for a large-scale offensive.”

Military analysts say the Kremlin’s forces may be probing Ukrainian defenses for weak points or could be making a feint while preparing for a main thrust through southern Ukraine.

Ukraine envisages possible Russian offensives in the east and the south, Ukrainian military intelligen­ce spokesman Vadym Skibitsky said. He predicted that Russia will likely press its offensive in the Donbas and could also launch an attack in the southern Zaporizhzh­ia region.

Skibitsky added that Russia plans to mobilize another 300,000-500,000 in addition to the 300,000 mobilized in the fall.

David Arakhamia, who leads Zelenskyy’s Servant of the People party in parliament, said Sunday that Ukraine is preparing for a Russian offensive while planning to counteratt­ack and reclaim its occupied territory.

Arakhamiao­n Monday also walked back a statement that Ukraine’s Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov would be moved to another government post, saying no shakeup will happen this week.

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