The latest update on the situation in the region was provided by the head of the local military administration, Polish state news agency PAP reported on Friday.
Serhii Haidai said on the Telegram social messaging app: “Russian occupation forces made attempts to break through to Bilohorivka, but they failed. All the offensives were repulsed.”
He added, as cited by the Ukrainska Pravda website: “As for the slightly different axis of Svatove-Kreminna, the Armed Forces of Ukraine are advancing along it."
Haidai said on Thursday evening that progress was slow, but added that "it is as expected."
He reported that Ukrainian troops were advancing slowly due to adverse weather conditions and "because the surprise factor is no longer there."
He stated: “The invaders had time to tighten up the reserves and destroy bridges, and to mine the land very extensively. They are now intensively attacking all the settlements from which they had to retreat. And the weather, unfortunately, is not helping at all. It has been raining heavily a few days in a row and the equipment is simply getting stuck in the mud. Sometimes progress is made only thanks to infantry."
At the same time, Haidai stressed: "We can observe that no trench warfare is taking place, and it is the Armed Forces of Ukraine that are advancing."
Ukrainian forces repel Russian attacks in Donbas
Ukraine’s General Staff reported on Friday morning that the country’s defence forces have repelled Russian attacks near 13 cities, towns and villages in the eastern Luhansk and Donetsk regions over the course of the previous 24 hours.
Ukrainian military authorities also said that Russian forces continued to fire on Ukrainian positions "along the line of contact" and were seeking to reinforce their defence positions on the left bank of the Dnipro River, while also conducting extensive aerial reconnaissance.
Russia conducts air strikes in Ukraine's south, east
Russian forces carried out 15 air strikes, one missile strike and over 40 attacks using multiple-launch rocket systems (MLRS) on Thursday, targeting settlements in the southern Kherson region, the southeastern Zaporizhzhia province and the eastern Donetsk region, according to Ukraine’s General Staff, as cited by Ukrainska Pravda.
Russian forces also continued to fire on military targets as well as towns and villages on multiple fronts in Ukraine, including the northeastern regions of Kharkiv and Sumy, officials said.
The city of Nikopol and two other municipalities in the southeastern Dnipropetrovsk region came under sustained shelling from Russian Grad multiple rocket launchers (MLRS) and heavy artillery throughout the night, the PAP news agency reported, citing regional officials.
Belarus 'continuing to aid and support Russia’s military aggression'
Ukraine’s General Staff warned that Belarus was "continuing to aid and support Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine by allowing Russian forces to use its territory, airspace and infrastructure.”
It said that “there is an ongoing threat of missile and air strikes from the territory of Belarus, including with the use of attack UAVs,” as cited by Ukrainska Pravda.
Ukraine’s military command said that over the past several days, the country’s armed forces had destroyed "eight pieces of Russian military equipment" and injured up to 120 Russian military personnel in the southeastern Zaporizhzhia region.
Meanwhile, some 100 wounded Russian soldiers have been hospitalised in the temporarily occupied territories in the southern Kherson region.
Ukraine’s General Staff said, as quoted by Ukrainska Pravda, that the commanders of Russian occupation forces were "doing everything they can to conceal Russia’s real losses from their military personnel in order to avoid widespread panic."
Russian forces continue ‘evacuation’ from Kherson region
Ukraine’s military command also reported that the Russian occupation authorities in the Kherson region continued their “evacuation” ahead of an expected Ukrainian counteroffensive.
At the same time, Russia deployed up to 1,000 additional conscripts in order to reinforce its troops on the right bank of the Dnipro River in the occupied part of Kherson province, Ukrainian officials said.
Ukraine strikes Russian concentration points
Ukrainian aircraft carried out 29 air strikes on Thursday against clusters of Russian military personnel, weapons and equipment, storage facilities and anti-aircraft defence systems, according to officials. In addition, Ukrainian air defence forces struck down two Russian Ka-52 helicopters and a Su-25 attack jet, they said.
Ukraine’s Rocket Forces and Artillery struck four areas where Russian military personnel, weapons and equipment were concentrated and also targeted an ammunition storage facility.
Biden sceptical about Putin’s claims
US President Joe Biden on Thursday expressed scepticism about Russian President Vladimir Putin’s claim that Russia has no intention of using nuclear weapons in Ukraine, the PAP news agency reported.
Speaking at an annual foreign policy conference in Moscow, Putin played down a nuclear standoff with the West, insisting that Russia had not threatened to use nuclear weapons and had only responded to nuclear "blackmail" from Western leaders, according to the Reuters news agency.
In an interview with US news outlet NewsNation, Biden said: “'I think if he has no intention, why does he keep talking about it? Why is he talking about the ability to use a tactical nuclear weapon? He's been very dangerous in how he's approached this.”
Last month, Putin accused the West of engaging in "nuclear blackmail" against Russia and of seeking to destroy his country. He warned that Russia had "lots of weapons to reply" to what he described as Western threats and said that he was not bluffing, Reuters reported at the time.
Meanwhile, US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters on Thursday that Washington would soon announce a new security assistance package for Ukraine.
Friday is day 247 of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Source: PAP, Reuters, pravda.com.ua, dailymail.co.uk