19th September 2023 – (Kyiv) Kyiv announced on Monday that its forces successfully penetrated Russia’s defensive positions near the war-torn town of Bakhmut, marking a significant development in Ukraine’s ongoing counteroffensive against Moscow. This comes just ahead of President Volodymyr Zelensky’s address to the UN General Assembly, following his arrival in New York on Monday, which marks his second visit to the United States since the start of the Russian invasion in February last year. Zelensky expressed his gratitude to the US for its leadership in supporting Ukraine’s fight for freedom and independence.
Since June, Ukraine has been actively attempting to reclaim territories controlled by Russia, focusing its efforts on Bakhmut in the eastern Donetsk region and strategic points in the south towards Crimea. The Ukrainian military has been bolstered by Western-supplied weapons, including support from the US, and the recruitment of assault battalions. While progress has been limited against entrenched Russian forces, the Ukrainian defence ministry reported recapturing a total of seven square kilometres near Bakhmut and along the southern front last week.
Ukraine’s ground forces commander, Oleksandr Syrskyi, declared that fierce fighting is ongoing in the Bakhmut area, highlighting the successful breach of the enemy’s defence line by Ukrainian troops. This development follows Ukraine’s recent announcement of regaining control over two villages south of the industrial hub, solidifying the battle for Bakhmut as the longest and bloodiest of the invasion.
Meanwhile, Russian forces continue their aerial bombardment campaign, specifically targeting Ukraine’s southern regions and maritime export hubs. In response, Ukraine claimed that its air defence systems successfully downed a swarm of attack drones and 17 cruise missiles in Russia’s latest overnight barrage on Sunday. The Ukrainian Air Force reported shooting down 18 out of 24 Russian attack drones over the Black Sea regions of Odesa and Mykolaiv.
However, Russia countered by stating that its strikes targeted storage facilities for British Storm Shadow cruise missiles and ammunition containing depleted uranium, a controversial weapon supplied by the United States to Kyiv. The situation remains tense as both sides engage in military actions and propaganda warfare, with Ukraine seeking support from its Western allies while Russia continues its aggressive stance in the ongoing conflict.