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Ukraine’s military said on Wednesday that despite heavy artillery fire on multiple fronts, Russian forces have made little progress towards their goal of securing all Lugansk and Donetsk regions in the east of the country.
On Tuesday, US Ambassador to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, Michael Carpenter, said the US had “very credible” intelligence reports that Russia was attempting to annex areas of Donetsk and Luhansk “in mid-May”.
In its latest operational update, the military said Tuesday night’s Russian missile attacks were designed to destroy transportation infrastructure. Cruise missiles hit at least half a dozen targets in central and western Ukraine in what appears to have been an attempt to impede the transit of military equipment and supplies.
Ukraine’s railway system reported that more than 40 trains were delayed following the attacks.
One of the strikes took place in the Zakarpattia region near the Slovakian border, the first time it has been targeted since the start of the invasion.
Viktor Mykyta, head of the Zakarpattia regional military administration, said a populated area was hit but there were no casualties and work was underway to restore public services.
Tens of thousands of displaced Ukrainians have moved from the east to the Zakarpattia region.
The update from the Ukrainian General Staff said there were few signs that Russian ground forces were preparing to move, but that more units from Russia’s Central Military District had been brought into the areas. border areas of the Russian region of Bryansk, neighboring the northeast of Ukraine.
The General Staff said most offensive action continued to take the form of artillery attacks. He said a ground advance to Dovhenke had failed. Russian forces attempted to push south from the Kharkiv region in a bid to encircle Ukrainian units defending the Donetsk region, but with limited success, he said.
CNN is unable to confirm details of the Ukrainian military update.
Military leaders have acknowledged that the Russians are advancing towards the village of Shandryholove, where Ukrainian troops are trying to defend the approaches to the towns of Lyman and Sloviansk in Donetsk Oblast. In recent weeks, the Russian military has carried out repeated military strikes on Lyman, including on its railway infrastructure.
“The enemy has reinforced the troop group and intensified aerial reconnaissance,” in the Lyman area, according to the update.
CNN has geotagged a video of this same area showing Russian armor destroyed by Ukrainian fire in recent days.
The military also reported continued fighting in the Zaporizhzhia region, where Russian forces had failed to advance on the town of Orikhiv.
Serhii Haidai, head of the Luhansk region’s military administration, said rocket and bomb attacks continued on the cities of Severodonetsk, Rubizhne and Lysychansk. Two people had died. He added that fighting was also continuing in the town of Popasna. CNN has geotagged a video showing intense street fighting among the ruins of the city.
“The Russians are not just destroying Popasna. They are removing it from the map of the Luhansk region,” Haidai said.
In nearby Donetsk, Pavlo Kyrylenko, head of the Donetsk regional military administration, said the towns of Avdiivka and Maryinka were shelled again on Wednesday morning.