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Day 397 — Russian assaults yielding progressively less

The weekend saw the Donetsk region front line remain practically unchanged despite Russian forces maintaining active offensive operations in the Bakhmut and Avdiyivka sectors. The line of contact up north in the Luhansk region and in the southern Zaporizhya and Kherson regions was virtually static too, with much less ground movement and mostly artillery duels. Judging from Ukrainian General Staff daily battlefield updates, the overall intensity of fighting must have lessened substantially, with the number of repulsed Russian assaults dropping to around 60 on each of Friday and Sunday, the lowest tallies since the beginning of March and less than half of 124 attacks on average per day reported in the first week of this month. In the Bakhmut sector, Russian forces managed less than 20 assaults per day over the weekend, according to a spokesman for Ukraine’s Eastern Group of Forces, down from 35-50 earlier this month, yet the intensity of shelling did not diminish. On Avdiyivka, Ukrainian military sitreps remained unchanged in describing as “futile” the ongoing Russian attempts to envelop this industrial town adjacent to the city of Donetsk (c. 50 km south of Bakhmut). Russian sources reported no appreciable gains for their troops on the eastern front either, in particular admitting that Ukrainian forces maintained their positions on the western outskirts of Bakhmut, preventing it from being encircled since Russian forces launched their concerted envelopment effort in January.
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