Officials detect shift in Russian focus in Donetsk and use of “Syrian tactics” in Bakhmut

Svitlana Vlasova and Tim Lister

Ukrainian officials say the Russian focus in the eastern Donetsk region has shifted slightly, but the city of Bakhmut and the ruined towns of Mariinka and Avdiivka remain the focus of Russian assaults.

The General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces said Monday there had been 47 air strikes by Russian planes over the past day, and more than 30 ground assaults had been repelled.

Ukrainian forces continue to cling on to parts of the city of Bakhmut and the access route from the west. The General Staff said that “during the day, the enemy conducted unsuccessful offensive actions in the direction of Novomarkove and Khromove,” settlements to the northwest and west of the city.

Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar said that in the Bakhmut sector, the Russians were using what she called the “Syrian tactics” of total destruction of buildings and facilities.

“At the same time, our defenders are carrying out active assault operations and preventing the enemy from taking control of the city,” Maliar said.

Maliar noted a decrease in Russian attacks in one area of the front line that has been very active for several months — near the Ukrainian-held town of Lyman.

“In the Lyman sector, the aggressor failed to break through our defenses and its activity has slightly decreased,” she said. “At the same time, the enemy is shelling our positions in this area and regrouping.”

The General Staff reported that, “The enemy did not conduct any offensive in the Lyman sector.”

Elsewhere, the same pattern of Russian artillery and mortar fire continued across the front line, with the town of Vuhledar coming under heavy bombardment.

In the south, according to the General Staff, Russian forces are carrying out “defensive actions at the Zaporizhzhia and Kherson directions,” but that includes heavy shelling of settlements close to the front lines. Maliar said that the Russians were doing their best “to maintain control over the occupied borders and prevent the advance of our troops” in the south.

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