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Ukrainian commander calls for more defenses in the northeast

As Kiev and Washington debate whether Ukraine should send troops along the front line of the war, the Ukrainian general in the east has called for more reinforcements in a part of the territory where the Russia threatens to make further gains.

Russian forces have managed to advance around the city of Kupyansk in northeastern Ukraine in recent weeks as forces from Kyiv made slow progress in their continued counteroffensive in the south and east. Russia’s gains, though insignificant, have led Ukrainian forces to devote some troops to defending parts of the sprawling front line, which stretches for hundreds of miles, despite their needs elsewhere.

“Enemy units continue to inflict damage with artillery, mortars and aircraft,” General Oleksandr Syrsky, commander of Eastern Ukraine Forces, said on the Telegram messaging app on Friday. . “In such conditions, we must quickly take all necessary measures to strengthen our defenses on the threatened lines and advance where possible. »

The debate over Ukraine’s strategy has gone public in recent days, amid an avalanche of media reports, including from the New York Times, in which US officials blamed much of Ukraine’s slow progress on its strategy. According to the Pentagon’s reasoning, kyiv would have had to commit an inordinate number of forces to part of the front line to attempt a breakthrough. Instead, Ukrainian commanders have attempted to distribute troops and firepower in a way they consider as fair and equal as possible between east and south.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky responded bluntly to US criticism last week, saying moving Ukrainian forces away from places like Kupyansk in the Kharkiv region was what Russia was trying to accomplish.

“We will not abandon Kharkiv, Donbass, Pavlohrad or Dnipro. And that’s it,” he told a news conference on Wednesday, according to Ukrainian newspaper Pravda. “And that all the analysts in the world don’t even count on it.”

General Syrsky’s remarks are a further reminder that, despite public attention to the counter-offensive in the south, other parts of the front line remain unstable.

“The enemy is now regrouping its forces and assets, while transferring the newly formed brigades and divisions from Russian territory,” General Syrsky said. “Russia’s main goal is to increase the level of combat potential and resume active offensive actions.” His claims about the arrival of new units could not be independently confirmed.

Here’s what else happens during the war:

  • Russia said it shot down a Ukrainian drone in the Moscow region early Saturday morning, the latest of a dozen attempted drone attacks in and around the Russian capital in August. The drone was destroyed by air defenses in the Istra district, northwest of Moscow, according to the Russian Defense Ministry.

    US officials said kyiv’s more frequent unmanned attacks were intended to demonstrate to Ukrainian public opinion that it could retaliate amid a slow counteroffensive. Ukraine has not directly claimed responsibility for the drones.

victoria kim contributed reporting from Seoul, and Natalia Novosolova from Kyiv.

nytimes Eur

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