KYIV, Aug 15 - The Ukrainian military said Monday that it had repelled more than a dozen Russian attacks in the country’s east and north, including attempts to advance on key cities in the eastern industrial heartland known as the Donbas.
In its regular Facebook update, the military’s general staff said Russian troops had attempted to push towards Kramatorsk, one of two major cities in the eastern Donetsk province that remain under Ukrainian control, but “they failed completely and chaotically retreated to their previous positions,” The Associated Press reported.
In the same post, the military said Russian forces had staged an unsuccessful assault on Bakhmut, a strategic town in the Donetsk region whose capture would pave the way for Russia to take Kramatorsk and the de facto Ukrainian administrative capital, Sloviansk.
The Donetsk region is one of two provinces that make up the Donbas, where the fighting has largely been focused in recent months, since Kremlin forces retreated from around the capital, Kyiv.
Russian officials announced the full capture of the Luhansk region, the second of the two, early last month, though its Ukrainian governor has repeatedly claimed that Kyiv’s forces are holding out in a small area near the regional boundary.
In the same update, the military claimed that Russia had tried and failed to break through Ukrainian defense lines in the northern Kharkiv region, home to Ukraine’s second-largest city, but were “met harshly and thrown back.”
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy renewed his call for fresh sanctions against Moscow and its nuclear industry in response to the situation. He described Russian forces’ actions there as “nuclear blackmail” that may embolden malign actors worldwide.
As Russian forces kept up their artillery barrages around Ukraine, at least three Ukrainian civilians were killed and 20 others wounded, Ukrainian officials said.
The deaths and 13 of the wounded were blamed on Russian shelling that hit towns and villages in the Donetsk region, regional officials said.
In the country’s second-largest city of Kharkiv, seven civilians were wounded by Russian shelling that hit residential buildings and an area near a bus stop. Kharkiv Gov. Oleh Synyehubov said the wounded included a 80-year-old woman. (ap/ez)