In the past day, Ukrainian troops repelled dozens of Russian attacks on the front near Kupyansk, Avdijivka and Marjinka, the Ukrainian General Staff said in a regular report on the situation on the battlefield. To a lesser extent, the Russians also attacked at Bakhmut. Ukrainian forces, on the other hand, continued their offensive operations south of Bakhmut in the east and in the direction of occupied Melitopol in the southeast of the country, held defensive positions in other sections and caused losses to the enemy, according to the Ukrainian command.
Ukrainian troops continue to hold and even expand their positions near the villages of Krynky and Pidstepne on the left, i.e. eastern, bank of the Dnieper River, the American Institute for the Study of War (ISW) warned, citing Russian war bloggers.
ISW also drew attention to a letter from the jailed former leader of pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine, Igor Girkin, warning that given the current offensive operations, Russian troops will be even less capable of an offensive next spring than they are now. In a letter released by the prisoner’s wife, Girkin pointed out that the situation of Russian forces is gradually deteriorating and Russian troops are weakening, although they were quite successfully able to repulse the Ukrainian counter-offensive in the summer and autumn. However, they were no longer able to complete even the limited offensive operations at Kupjansk, Lyman and Avdijivka, where they paid for the limited progress with heavy losses.
Girkin has been in custody since July, when he was arrested on suspicion of inciting extremism. Girkin, also known as Igor Strelkov, has been in command of pro-Russian separatist militias in Donbas, eastern Ukraine, since spring 2014. Last November, a Dutch court sentenced Girkin to life in absentia for his role in the murder of 298 people on board a Malaysian airliner shot down over eastern Ukraine in the summer of 2014. However, Russia refuses to extradite those convicted in the MH17 case. Girkin is a supporter of the war in Ukraine, but has sharply criticized the Russian leadership, including President Vladimir Putin, for indecision and incompetence.