Ukrainian forces 'regain lost positions' in battle for Chasiv Yar against Putin's army

Ukrainian forces 'regain lost positions' in battle for Chasiv Yar against Putin's army

Ukrainian forces have regained lost positions as they seek to fight off an advance by Vladimir Putin’s army in the east of the country, say military experts.

They are reported to have taken back territory near the town of Chasiv Yar in the Donetsk province.

But Russian units are continuing attempts to break through Ukraine’s defensive line before new US military aid reaches the wartorn country.

In a new update, the Institute for The Study of War said: “Ukrainian forces recently regained lost positions east of Chasiv Yar as Russian forces continued offensive operations in the area on April 23.

“Geolocated footage published on April 22 indicates that Ukrainian forces recently marginally advanced SE of Ivanivske.”

The Washington-based think tank added: “Russian forces continued ground attacks in the Siversk direction (northwest of Bakhmut) on April 23, but there were no confirmed changes to the frontline in this area.

“Russian forces maintained a relatively intensified rate of ground attacks between Svatove and Kreminna on April 23 but did not make any confirmed advances.”

Capturing the strategically important hill town of Chasiv Yar would allow the Russian army to move toward Sloviansk and Kramatorsk, key cities Ukraine controls in the Donetsk province.

Putin is believed to want to seize the town in time for the May 9 Victory Parade in Moscow which celebrates the Soviet Victory over Nazi Germany in 1945.

In the latest Russian attacks, missiles damaged residential buildings and injured six people in Ukraine’s second-largest city, Kharkiv, early on Wednesday, Governor Oleh Synehubov said.

The attack damaged three residential buildings, two offices, three non-residential buildings and a gas pipeline in the central district of the city, according to the governor’s statement.

The city’s mayor, Ihor Terekhov, said two S-300 missiles were used in the attack but did not deal significant damage to the residential areas of the city.

Mr Terekhov said the work to repair the gas pipeline continued as the city raced to restore gas supply to the impacted part of the city on Wednesday morning.

Meanwhile, fire broke out at energy facilities in Russia’s Smolensk region after a Ukraine-launched drone attack and people were evacuated from parts of Lipetsk in Russia’s southwest after a drone there fell on an industrial park, regional officials said.

The news from the frontline came as the US Congress passed a sweeping foreign aid package after months of delay, clearing the way for billions of dollars in fresh Ukraine funding amid advances from Russia’s invasion force and Kyiv’s shortages of military supplies.

The Senate approved by 79 to 18 four bills passed by the House of Representatives on Saturday, after House Republican leaders abruptly switched course last week and allowed a vote on the $95 billion (£76 billion) in mostly military aid for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan and US partners in the Indo-Pacific.

The four bills were combined into one package in the Senate, which President Joe Biden said he would sign into law on Wednesday, with the supply of more military aid to Ukraine due to start within days.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky hailed the agreement for $61 billion (£48 billion) of new military aid for Kyiv.

“This vote reinforces America’s role as a beacon of democracy and leader of the free world,” he said.

Michael Clarke, visiting professor in war studies at King’s College London, said: “Ultimately it offers Ukraine the prospect of staying in the war this year.

“Sometimes in warfare you’ve just got to stay in it. You’ve just got to avoid being rolled over.”

The US funding “can probably only help stabilise the Ukrainian position for this year and begin preparations for operations in 2025,” said Matthew Savill, director of military sciences at the London-based Royal United Services Institute think tank.

Ukraine says that to win the war it needs longer-range missiles it could use for potentially game-changing operations such as cutting off occupied Crimea.

It wants Army Tactical Missile Systems, known as ATACMs, from the US and Taurus cruise missiles from Germany, as well as more Patriot air defence systems.

Britain, which has led the West in arming Ukraine, has also announced a further £500 million of military aid for Kyiv, including more Storm Shadow long-range missiles.

The Senate’s Democratic and Republican leaders predicted that Congress had turned the corner in putting Putin and other foreign adversaries on notice that Washington will continue supporting Ukraine and other foreign partners.

“This national security bill is one of the most important measures Congress has passed in a very long time to protect American security and the security of Western democracy,” said Democratic Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.

Mr Schumer said he left a message for Mr Zelensky on Tuesday night, telling him, “OK, we got it done. Now go win the fight.”

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, a strong advocate for assisting Ukraine, expressed regret about the delay, largely due to hardline Republicans’ objections to adding more to the $113 billion (£91 billion) Washington had authorized for Kyiv since Russia began its full-scale invasion in February 2022.

“I think we’ve turned the corner on the isolationist movement,” he said.

The influx of weapons should improve Kyiv’s chances of averting a major breakthrough in the east by Russia, although it would have been more helpful if the aid had come closer to when Mr Biden requested it last year, analysts said.

The House passed the Ukraine funding by 311-112, with all “no” votes coming from Republicans, many of whom were bitterly opposed to further assistance for Kyiv. Only 101 Republicans voted for it, forcing Speaker Mike Johnson to rely on Democratic support and prompting calls for his ouster as House leader.

However, the House left Washington for a week-long recess, without triggering a vote to remove Mr Johnson.