Russian forces improve their forward positions Ukraine orders evacuation of key frontline city Kiev’s counteroffensive faltering
Moscow’s troops have improved their forward positions near the key Ukrainian city of Kupiansk, the Russian Defense Ministry reported on Monday. Ukrainian authorities had previously ordered a mandatory evacuation of the area around the logistics hub.
The Russian military said the troops had fended off four separate attacks east of Kupiansk, a strategically important settlement in Kharkov Region. The most intense fighting took place near the villages of Sinkovka in the same region and Novosyolovskoye in the Russian Lugansk People’s Republic, the ministry said in a daily briefing.
The northern portion of the front line near Kupiansk has emerged as the scene of a Russian push against Ukrainian troops, as Kiev’s forces faltered in their attempts to conduct a counteroffensive in the south.
Less than two weeks ago, the Ukrainian municipal administration announced a mandatory evacuation of the city and dozens of other settlements. On Monday, rumors circulated online that at least part of the administration had moved out of Kupiansk, though this was not officially confirmed.
Its acting head, Andrey Kanashevich, appeared to refute the speculation by posting images of what he claimed to be a recent meeting with other officials. There was also a photo of him standing next to a local attraction, a monument to a beaver, with the animal sculpture wrapped in a red-and-black Ukrainian nationalist flag.
Kupiansk is located some 120km from the regional capital Kharkov and serves as a military logistics hub, with a railway running through it. Russia seized the city shortly after hostilities with Ukraine broke out in February 2022, but Kiev retook it months later, when Moscow pulled back troops to take more favorable defensive positions.
In June, Ukraine launched a new counteroffensive, which Kiev claimed would result in the seizure of territory not unlike what happened last year. The operation has proven to be largely unsuccessful so far, with only a handful of villages captured amid intense fighting.
The Ukrainian government has blamed a shortage of Western weapons and the failure of its sponsors to supply combat aircraft for the outcome. Moscow claims that Kiev has lost more than 43,000 troops and dozens of pieces of heavy weapons, including those manufactured by NATO members, in its futile attacks.