Ukraine Takes Back Territory From Russia as Moscow's Military Struggles

Ukraine Takes Back Territory From Russia as Moscow’s Military Struggles

Ukraine’s forces recently made gains along the southern front lines while Russia has failed to reach any major breakthroughs in the conflict in recent days, according to a spokesperson with Estonia’s Ministry of Defense.

Colonel Tarmo Kundla, head of Estonia’s Defense Forces General Staff’s operations department, said during a press briefing Friday that Kyiv had managed to liberate areas near Velyka Novosilka, a settlement along the front lines in the southwest part of the Donetsk region, according to a report from the English-language Estonian broadcaster ERR.

Kundla also reported Russian forces had made incremental gains on the eastern front, noting Moscow troops had advanced along the Kupyansk-Kreminna line and captured a few small villages near Bakhmut. While Kundla told reporters that Moscow is maintaining the initiative in these small attacks, he claimed that Russia has failed to make any decisive breakthroughs, adding, “Ukraine’s defense is holding.”

A recently bombed residential area is seen amid artillery shelling on December 31, 2023, in Avdiivka, Ukraine. Ukrainian troops reportedly made gains along the southern frontlines in Ukraine while Russia has failed to reach any major breakthroughs, according to a spokesperson with the Estonian Ministry of Defense.
Pierre Crom/Getty Images
The Estonian official said Russia’s recent bombardment of aerial strikes over the past several days across Ukraine has not proven to weaken Kyiv’s defense capabilities. Newsweek reached out to the defense ministries of Russia and Ukraine via email for comment.

Kundla’s report follows an assessment from the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) on Thursday, which echoed that Russia had seen success near the eastern city of Kreminna. The ISW also reported Russian advances near the village of Avdiivka, which has been the center of intense fighting for months.

Kundla said on Friday that Russia’s “main thrust is likely to be on the encirclement of Avdiivka, and so it can be expected that additional resources will be deployed there in the near future.”

Avdiivka serves as an important railroad hub in eastern Ukraine, but despite pouring a considerable amount of resources into efforts to capture the village, Russia has failed to make any major developments along the frontlines.

Kundla also reported that battles across the front lines have slowed over the past week, and Ukrainian Ground Forces Command Spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Volodymyr Fityo said on Thursday that Russia’s offensive operations in the Kupyansk sector had abated in recent days potentially due to “deteriorating weather conditions.”

Meanwhile, Ukraine launched a major attack on Crimea Thursday, which reportedly struck Russia’s air defenses and a command center located on the annexed peninsula, according to Kyiv military officials.

Unconfirmed reports circulating on Russian Telegram channels Friday also claimed that nearly two dozen Russian military personnel, including five high-ranking officers, were killed in the strike on Crimea. Newsweek was unable to independently verify these reports.

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