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Ukraine says eastern front has 'deteriorated significantly'

April 13, 2024

Ukraine's commander-in-chief says Kyiv's military is struggling as Russia intensifies its efforts to move forward in the east of the country.

Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Oleksandr Syrsky
Ukraine has said the situation around the eastern frontline city of Chasiv Yar is "difficult and tense"Image: Ukrainian Armed Forces via AFP

Ukraine's commander-in-chief Oleksandr Syrskyi warned on Saturday that the situation on the eastern front had "deteriorated significantly" in recent days.

The comments come after Russian forces began to make inroads in Ukraine's eastern region of Donetsk this year.

The gains come after a year of the front line being mostly frozen and against a Ukrainian army dogged by manpower and ammunition shortages, amid delays in Western aid. 

What the commander-in-chief said

Syrskyi said the fighting had intensified after Russia's presidential election, in which President Vladimir Putin triumphed against his permitted opposition.

"The enemy is actively attacking our positions in the Lyman and Bakhmut sectors with assault groups supported by armored vehicles. In the Pokrovsk sector, they are trying to break through our defense using dozens of tanks and armored personnel carriers," the commander-in-chief said.

Kyiv has said the situation around the eastern frontline city of Chasiv Yar is "difficult and tense" with the area under "constant fire."

Chasiv Yar lies 20 kilometers (12 miles) west of Bakhmut, which was flattened by months of artillery fire before being seized by Moscow's forces last May.

Ukraine air defense depleted as Russia hits power plants

Russia's superior weapons showing on battlefield

Syrskyi took over as commander-in-chief in February after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy fired his popular predecessor, Valery Zaluzhny. 

He said Russians also had superior weapons, and that Moscow's forces were making periodic gains.

 "This is primarily due to a significant intensification of the enemy's offensive after the presidential elections in Russia," he said, adding that decisions were "made to strengthen the most problematic defense areas with electronic warfare and air defense."

Syrskyi then warned that Ukraine urgently needs to achieve technical superiority over Russian forces via the use of high-tech weapons.

"Only this will enable us to defeat a larger enemy and create conditions for seizing the strategic initiative," he said.

The military chief also spoke about the need to train Ukraine's military personnel, especially infantry units, "so they can make the most of all the capabilities of military equipment and Western weapons."

This week, Ukraine adopted new legislation, making it easier to recruit urgently needed soldiers and fining those who try to escape military drafts.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has warned that Russia may be preparing a big offensive in late May or June. He did not say where.

Ukraine approves new mobilization law

mm/rc (AFP, LUSA)