Ukraine says it is repelling Russian attacks across six fronts as Zelensky orders more fortifications

Missile attacks and ground clashes between Russian and Ukrainian forces surged on Thursday, according to the Ukrainian military, as Russian troops launched offensives but failed to move forward on as many as six fronts.

A total of 73 combat skirmishes took place across the war’s frontline in the past 24 hours, an update from Ukraine’s General Staff of the Armed Forces on Thursday read, a day after Russia launched more than 100 attacks to recapture its lost positions in eastern Ukraine’s Robotyne.

These included 43 airstrikes and 34 attacks from multiple-launch rocket systems. Russian forces also used seven Iranian Shahed drones to target Ukrainian personnel, weapons and military equipment.

Russian troops made dozens of failed attacks on Bakhmut, Avdiivka, Lyman, Kupiansk, Marinka, Zaporizhzhia and other hotspots along the 1000km (600 miles) long front line, according to the update.

Military spokesperson Oleksandr Shtupun said Ukrainian forces had rebuffed Russian attacks on the coking plant at Avdiivka, which has emerged as a key battleground in recent weeks.

“The plant is under our control. The enemy is suffering significant losses there,” he said, confirming Russian artillery and air attacks inside and around the town. “The Russians are actively pressing ground attacks, sometimes using armoured vehicles.”

Volodymyr Zelensky called for the bolstering of Kyiv’s fortifications along the war’s frontline, especially in eastern Ukraine amid the surge in Russian activities there.

“In all major sectors where reinforcement is needed, there should be a boost and an acceleration in the construction of structures,” Mr Zelensky said in his nightly video address.

“This of course means the greatest attention to the Avdiivka, Maryinka and other sectors in the Donetsk region. In Kharkiv region, this means the Kupiansk sector and the Kupiansk-Lyman line,” he added.

The appeal came after the Ukrainian president visited positions in the northeast, one of several areas where Russian forces have been trying to make recent headway and recapture areas liberated by Ukrainian troops a year ago.

One of the meetings Mr Zelensky held with commanders dealt specifically with building defensive fortifications, he said.

Russia has an extensive network of its own fortifications like dragon’s teeth, trenches, anti-tank ditches and minefields in areas of Ukraine it has invaded and wants to hold onto.

Those defences have been a key factor in holding back a Ukrainian counteroffensive that began in June. Ukrainian troops have made only incremental gains in the east and south since then.

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