39The enemy is gathering39 Ukrainian army officials give candid account

'The enemy is gathering': Ukrainian army officials give candid account of battlefield – CNN

Kyiv CNN —

Ukrainian officials have warned that Russia is conducting offensive operations across much of the front and the Ukrainian military is trying to hold its positions as it runs out of ammunition and funding from the United States remains blocked in Congress.

In the northeast, heavy fighting is taking place in an area where the Kharkiv and Luhansk regions meet. Ukraine announced earlier this week that it had withdrawn its forces from the village of Krokhmalne in Kharkiv to take up more advantageous defensive positions on higher ground, amid reports that Russian forces continued to exert pressure on the area.

The Ukrainian Army General Staff said Ukrainian forces repelled 13 attacks near Krokhmalne, on Tabaiivka in the northwest of the village and on Stelmakhivka in the south.

“The enemy is concentrating on a large number of artillery attacks and trying to advance,” a spokesman for the Land Forces Command told Ukrainian television about the situation near Krokhmalne.

The fronts, centered on eastern and southern Ukraine, have been largely static for months after Ukraine's counteroffensive last summer was largely repelled by heavily fortified Russian defenses. But the latest wave of Russian offensives came as Ukraine has warned it is facing a critical ammunition shortage and the war is nearing its two-year anniversary.

Ukrainian forces also report facing increased pressure further southeast in the Bakhmut area, which was the focus of Russia's winter offensive a year ago. According to Sergeant Oles Maliarevych of the 92nd Separate Brigade, Russia's efforts were focused on the southwest of the city, around the largely destroyed villages of Klishchiivka and Andriivka.

“The enemy is gathering troops… he attacks every day,” Maliarevych told Ukrainian television.


A Ukrainian soldier prepares 155mm artillery shells near the front line in Zaporizhia as Russia attacks Ukraine, January 14, 2024.

Maliarevych highlighted the enormous threat now posed by drones, which have had an increasingly significant impact on the battlefield over the past year. He said the Russians have significantly more drones than Ukraine, including drones with night vision.

Klishchiivka and Andriivka represent the easternmost edges of Ukraine's modest territorial gains around Bakhmut, which was recaptured in September as part of Ukraine's counteroffensive.

But Ukraine's gains last summer were modest. It was hoped that this would be an important first step towards breaking the Russian land corridor to Crimea. His forces attempted to advance south from the town of Orichiw toward Tokmak, but only made it as far as Robotyne, just over 20 kilometers (12.4 miles). South.

Oleksandr Shtupun, a Ukrainian military spokesman in charge of operations in the south in the Zaporizhzhia region, said Russia's efforts were now aimed at regaining territory recaptured from Ukraine.

“All in all, the invaders are very active, they have increased the number of attack and assault operations. For the second day in a row, they are conducting 50 combat missions a day. The enemy is active in all directions,” said Oleksandr Shtupun.

“In the Zaporizhzhia region the enemy is trying to recapture lost ground.”