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Ukraine makes partial but ‘significant’ gain in south as counteroffensive grinds on

Ukraine has claimed “partial success” at a village along the southern front, as Kyiv’s counteroffensive continues to struggle to make significant progress.

Elsewhere, Russia is attacking near Kupiansk in the northeastern Kharkiv region that borders Russia, an area that has seen significant shelling and the first major Ukrainian evacuation in months.

Ukraine’s effort to push down to the Sea of Azov continues, with fierce fighting along the frontlines.

The area is a major target for Ukraine as pushing deep into the territory would mean breaking Russia’s land-bridge between annexed Crimea and eastern Donetsk.

Ukraine claimed “partial success” near the village of Robotyne in the Zaporizhzhia region, the General Staff of the Armed Forces said. On Friday, social media video and images showed Ukrainian troops had entered the village.

The Institute for the Study of War [ISW] said even marginal gains by Ukraine in this area are significant.

“The Ukrainian forces’ ability to advance to the outskirts of Robotyne – which Russian forces have dedicated significant effort, time, and resources to defend – remains significant even if Ukrainian gains are limited at this time,” the ISW said.

Meanwhile, Russians made “unsuccessful attempts” to regain lost ground near the village of Urozhaine in the eastern Donetsk region, the General Staff said. On Thursday, Ukraine claimed “partial success” in gaining positions in the area.

Also in Eastern Ukraine, Russian forces are trying to “escalate and take over the initiative” on an effort to “pull” Ukrainian troops from other areas of the frontlines, according to a regional military official.

In the Lyman-Kupiansk direction in the northeastern Kharkiv region, “the enemy is trying escalate and take over the initiative at this direction and attacking our positions,” said the Deputy Commander of the Eastern Military Group for Strategic Communications Serhii Cherevatyi, in comments made on national television on Saturday.

Russian forces attempted offensives near Kupiansk which were repelled in a number of settlements in the area, according to the Ukraine General Staff’s daily update. The city fell during the early stages of the conflict but was liberated last fall.

This week a mandatory evacuation was ordered for Kupiansk and surrounding areas as Russia intensified shelling of the area and claimed to have captured some Ukrainian positions.

Ukraine’s highly-anticipated counteroffensive has been underway for weeks with fighting focused along the eastern and southern fronts. Kyiv launched the campaign in the hope of recapturing territory seized by Russia. But so far, any gains have been small and painfully fought for.

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