KYIV — Russia has gathered 100,000 troops and is attempting to break through Kyiv’s defenses in the Kharkiv region, according to the Ukrainian army.
With Ukraine focusing its counteroffensive efforts on the southern front, Moscow’s forces have been probing Kyiv’s defenses in the east, in the direction of Kupiansk, Ukraine’s Army Command East spokesman Serhiy Cherevatyi said during a national telethon Monday.
According to Cherevatyi, Russia has gathered some 100,000 troops, 900 tanks and 555 artillery systems in the area.
“They are concentrating everything in order to break through our defense. Our soldiers are firmly on the defensive. They do not allow the enemy to seize the initiative,” Cherevatyi said.
Kupiansk, a city in Ukraine’s Kharkiv region, was a crucial logistics hub and supply route for Russia’s invading forces in the east, until Kyiv recaptured it during its counteroffensive last fall.
Ukrainian Army Land Forces Commander General Oleksandr Syrsky confirmed Russia has concentrated its forces to attack in the Kupiansk direction, but thus far has been unable to break through.
Syrsky commands Ukraine’s operations around the key battleground of Bakhmut, where Kyiv has managed to seize the initiative and retake high ground around the destroyed city after Russia occupied it earlier this year.
Russia has also recently reinforced its positions around Bakhmut with additional forces, Syrsky said, and Moscow is seeking to break through in the Kharkiv region as President Vladimir Putin wants a big win.
Ukraine’s Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar supported that view, saying: “As soon as we seize the operational initiative and begin to advance, the enemy immediately activates in additional directions to distract and draw our forces there.”