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Russian military clarifies frontline situation in Ukraine

The Russian Defense Ministry has denied rumors of a large-scale Ukrainian counterattack, noting in a statement late on Thursday that the situation along most of the frontline appeared to be relatively calm, with the only heavy fighting in and near Artyomovsk, also known as Bakhmut.

“Reports by certain Telegram channels of ‘breaches of defenses’ in several places along the line of contact are not accurate,” the ministry said around 11 pm Moscow time. “The general situation in the area of the special military operation is under control.”

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According to the Russian military, the last remaining part of Artyomovsk was being stormed with air force and artillery support, while there was an “ongoing battle” to repel the attack of Ukrainian units in the direction of Malo-Ilyinkovka, northwest of the city, with “heavy enemy casualties in lives and equipment.”

Eight Ukrainian attacks and three attempts at reconnaissance in force were repelled on the Donetsk front, the Russian military said. Russian forces continue efforts to take all of Marynka and blockade Avdeevka.

READ MORE: Ukraine’s counteroffensive has begun – media

Ukrainian troops attempted two company-sized attacks towards Kremennaya but were repulsed. Three scouting parties were defeated further north, near Kupyansk. The ministry first said there had been no “active operations” on Kherson or Zaporozhye fronts in the south, but later published a list of Ukrainian losses on the Kherson front from Russian artillery, and reported shooting down 12 HIMARS rockets and a Su-25 ground attack jet.

Earlier in the day, multiple military correspondents had reported that the Ukrainian counter-offensive might have started, with a “breakthrough” near Artyomovsk and several attacks all along the frontline. One reporter cited military sources to claim the Ukrainians had used chemical weapons at a stretch of the Zaporozhye front as well.

Kiev has not commented on Thursday’s movements so far. Earlier in the day, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky claimed his military still needed more time to prepare before the long-awaited spring attack.

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