Russia pursues gains in Ukraine’s east as Kiev faces southern backlash

Russian forces pressed their offensive in Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk region on Saturday, pressuring the city of Bakhmut as Kiev tries to seize the initiative by opening a front in the south.

The General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces said Russia was deploying tanks, artillery and jet fighters to support the advance on Bakhmut and Avdiivka. Authorities in the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic – a Moscow-backed statelet formed in 2014 – said its troops had seized several bridgeheads in the nearby town of Soledar and were conducting reconnaissance in Bakhmut.

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