Ukrainian forces push into Donetsk, fighting Russia for territory it sees as ‘essential’ to gain: British intelligence

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Ukrainian forces pushed Areas occupied by Russia in northern Donetsk, in a move the British Ministry of Defense said on Friday “put pressure on territory that Russia considers essential to its war aims”.

Fighting in northern Donestk was described as “ongoing”, as Ukrainian forces launch counter-offensive on the town of Lyman, occupied by Russia since May.

Lyman lies about 30 miles west of Izyum in the northeast Kharkiv region, where Ukrainian troops made significant gains this month by retaking the majority of occupied territory and forcing Russian soldiers to retreat.

Ukraine announced control of the entire region west of the Oskil River, where the territory remains disputed from eastern Kharkiv through Luhansk regions.

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Armed National Guard soldiers walk along a trench on one of the sections of a defense line outside Kharkiv, in the Kharkiv region, northeastern Ukraine, in august.

Armed National Guard soldiers walk along a trench on one of the sections of a defense line outside Kharkiv, in the Kharkiv region, northeastern Ukraine, in august.
(Vyacheslav Madiyevskyy/Ukrinform/Future Publishing via Getty Images)

“Russia attempted to ‘integrate’ Oskil into a consolidated defensive line after its forces withdrew earlier this month,” Britain’s Ministry of Defense said on Friday.

However, over the past three days Ukrainian forces have ‘secured bridgeheads on the east bank’ of the Separation River, suggesting they may be better placed to retake the rest of Kharkiv before advancing towards Luhansk. .

The ministry’s announcement comes as Russia launches referendums in Donetsk, Lugansk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson, despite intense fighting in all four regions.

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Kharkiv was previously listed as one of the regions that Russia intended to annex.

Western officials condemned Moscow’s drive to illegally seize Ukrainian territory by holding what they called “mock” elections in eastern and southern Ukraine.

The “voting” will begin on Friday and the polling stations will be open on Tuesday.

According to Russian state-owned media, RIA, the question on the ballot is: “Do you support secession from Ukraine, formation of the region as an independent state and joining Russia? ?

Ukrainian soldiers are seen aboard an armored personnel carrier during a drill not far from Kharkiv on April 30.

Ukrainian soldiers are seen aboard an armored personnel carrier during a drill not far from Kharkiv on April 30.
(SERGEY BOBOK/AFP via Getty Images)

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Preliminary results would be released Tuesday and Wednesday.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy condemned the election as a “farce” and Western officials have repeatedly pointed to a similar step taken by Russia during its 2014 invasion of Crimea.