Ukraine says Russia attacking with ‘heavy fire’ in south

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Ukrainian troops are facing “heavy fire” from advancing Russian forces in the southern Zaporizhzhia region after Moscow made its most significant territorial gain in nine months last week, Ukrainian army figures said Monday.

Moscow’s forces are back on the offensive across eastern and southern Ukraine, and have forced Kiev into a hasty withdrawal from the town of Avdiivka in the eastern Donetsk region, securing their first major gain since the capture of Bakhmut in May 2023.

Senior Ukrainian commander Oleksandr Tarnavsky said Monday that Russia was now launching multiple attacks near the village of Robotyne — one of the few places where Ukraine had managed to regain ground during last year’s counter-offensive.

Russia was trying to advance with “small assault groups with the involvement of several units of armoured vehicles,” he said in a Telegram post.

“These offensive attempts are being halted, the enemy is being eliminated in the outskirts of Robotyne,” Tarnavsky, who commands Ukraine’s forces in the area, said in a post on Telegram.

Reports from Russian military bloggers had earlier said Moscow’s forces were in the southern edges of the village.

“The situation is dynamic here, the enemy is inflicting heavy fire,” Tarnavsky’s spokesperson Dmytro Lykhoviy said earlier Monday on state TV.

Like many settlements across eastern Ukraine, Robotyne has been completely flattened by months of artillery fire.

Ukraine’s defences have been stretched in recent weeks by shortages in ammunition and manpower.

Lykhoviy said the Russians were “regrouping” after Ukraine withdrew from Avdiivka and “will probably transfer units to other sectors.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin hailed the capture of Avdiivka as an “important victory” for his troops, just days before the two-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion on Feb. 24.

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