August 17, 2022 Russia-Ukraine News

Rescuers tend to a woman injured in a bombing in Opytne, Ukraine on August 1. (Diego Herrera Carcedo/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

The Ukrainian army general staff acknowledged that Russian forces managed to advance west from the outskirts of the city of Donetsk.

He said Russian forces continued to fire on several settlements west and southwest of Donetsk.

“The enemy has partial success in the direction of Opytne,” he said. Opytne is just north of Donetsk city airport and has been on the front line since 2014, when the airport was destroyed in fighting between the Ukrainian military and pro-Russian separatists.

The General Staff also said that the Russian forces had had partial success “in the direction of Novomykhailivka (south of Mariinka)”.

On Tuesday, Valeriy Zaluzhny, the commander-in-chief of Ukraine’s armed forces, said Russian forces were “continuing to advance” in Donbass but said the “intense” situation was “fully under control”.

“The main efforts of the enemy are focused on pushing back our troops from Donetsk Oblast. The most intense situation is now on the Avdiivka-Pisky-Mariinka axis,” Zaluzhny said.

This axis extends about 25 kilometers (15 miles) west of the city of Donetsk and includes front lines in the Opytne and Novomykhailivka regions.

In its Wednesday briefing, the Russian Defense Ministry said it inflicted heavy casualties on Ukrainian forces in artillery strikes near Mariinka. He also said Russian Air Force attacks had inflicted casualties on Ukrainian units further south around Vuhledar and Dobrovillia.

The Russians also appear to be launching new attacks in the Kharkiv region, striking west towards the Ukrainian defences.

“The enemy tried to break through the defense of our troops in the direction of the settlements of Lebiazhe and Bazaliivka, but did not succeed and retreated,” the General Staff said. He added that the Russians had also not advanced north of Sloviansk.

The Ukrainians also said there had been no changes to the front lines around Bakhmut in Donetsk, which has been shelled for weeks.

They said that “Ukrainian soldiers suppressed all attempts by the enemy to improve the tactical position of the units” in areas east and south of the city.

In recent days, Russian forces appear to have shifted the focus of their assaults to areas near the city of Donetsk and to parts of the Kharkiv region.

Christi C. Elwood