Ukraine Repels 13 Russian Attacks In Eastern Region, Ukrainian Counteroffensive Continues To Advance: Reports

While the Ukrainians have claimed steady progress in the counter-offensives, there has been some frustration in the West at the slow pace of the counter-offensive. This is in sharp contrast to last year where a lightening counter-offensive right ahead of the winters had recaptured large swathes of territories from the Russians.

Ukrainian soldiers in Eastern Ukraine

The Ukrainian military on Saturday repelled 13 Russian attacks in Klishchiivka village in Eastern Ukraine's Donetsk province, said the Ukrainian military in a statement on Saturday. 

The statement also said that Russia conducted over 60 air strikes in all on Saturday which led to deaths and destruction of civilian infrastructure. While the statement did not provide the figures of the dead, it said there were casualties in Kharkiv and more than 15 residential buildings were affected. There were also instances of artillery fire that damaged around 100 settlements at Kharkiv, Luhansk, Donetsk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions.

The Ukrainian counter-offensive has continued in the Eastern Donbas region, comprising Donetsk and Luhansk provinces. The Ukrainian military said it continued offensive operations towards Melitopol in Zaporizhzhia province, which is one of the focus areas of the ongoing counter-offensives. 

The Russian Defence Ministry also said that Ukrainian drones targeted Crimea and Moscow, according to Guardian. A report said that one of the drones damaged an oil depit in southwestern Russia early on Sunday, sparking a fire. Lately, Ukrainian forces have started carrying out strikes in Russia-held Crimea and mainland Russia through long-range drones. 

"During the day, the Air Defense Forces launched two strikes at control points, 12 on the focus areas of personnel weapons and military equipment and five on the enemy's airborne missile complexes," said the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in a statement on Facebook without giving out specifics.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine, which began on February 24, 2024, has now completed 571 days. The initial Russian plan was to swifly cut through Ukraine and capture the capital Kyiv. Then, the Russians were supposed to overthrow Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and replace it with a puppet regime. That, however, did not happen as Ukraine offered strong resistance and Russian operations were mired with poor tactics. The Russian forces soon relocated from the Kyiv to the country's southern and eastern regions where the fighting has since continued. While ground-based fighting has been in the south the east, Russia has carried out airstrikes throughout Ukraine. 

In the West, there has been some frustration at the slow pace of the Ukrainian counter-offensive. This is in sharp contrast to last year where a lightening counter-offensive right ahead of the winters had recaptured large swathes of territories from the Russians. This year, however, the Russians had months to prepare defencive lives and get entrenched in and around their positions, which meant that the element of surprise —key to last year's success— was not there.

Ukraine continues gains towards Bakhmut and in Zaporizhia region

As part of the ongoing counter-offensive in the Eastern Ukraine, the country's forces have continued to make gains towards Bakhmir and in Zaporizhia region, according to an independent assessment. 

Bakhmut is understood to be in Russian control, who won the city after months of grinding war of attribition. The Battle of Bakhmut had turned out to be the bloodiest theatre of the war and the biggest victory for the Russians, for whom the war has not gone as per plans. The victory of Soledar was another major Russian gain. 

"Ukraine continued to advance on September 16, making gains in the Bakhmut direction and in western Zaporizhia Oblast where Ukrainian forces continue to penetrate the Russian defensive layer ahead of the current extent of Ukrainian advances," said the think tank Institute for the Study of War (ISW) on Twitter.

The assesment comes days after Ukraine claimed the recapture of Andriivka in the region. 

A map showing territorial control of the battlefield shared by ISW shows major fighting going on at Bakhmut, Avdiivka, Marinka, and Konstyantynvka.

"Geolocated footage posted on September 15 confirms that Ukrainian forces have advanced south of Rozdolivka (about 13km northeast of #Bakhmut) and in northern Klishchiivka (about 6km southwest of Bakhmut). Geolocated footage published on September 16 indicates that Ukrainian forces advanced along Russian defensive positions to the west of #Robotyne (10km south of Orikhiv). Additional geolocated footage published on September 15 indicates that Ukrainian infantry advanced further along a series of Russian defensive positions immediately west of #Verbove (18km southeast of Orikhiv) but likely did not maintain control of these positions," said ISW in its assesment. 

The ISW concluded that the Ukrainian presence at these Russian defensive positions indicates that Russian forces do not control these positions either and that Ukrainian forces are continuing to operate past the Russian defensive layer.