US State Department is ‘carefully’ monitoring situation after Zelensky announced plans to suspend officials

Both the Ukrainian military and the leadership of Russian-backed separatist-held Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) have been talking about the ongoing Russian offensive in Donetsk.

Ukrainian forces are still defending the towns of Bakhmut and Siversk, which are in the pocket of the Donetsk territory.

“The enemy continues offensive attempts in the direction of the cities of Bakhmut and Siversk” but is meeting pushback from Ukrainian forces, the Ukrainian General Staff said Monday.

At the same time, Russians are intensifying hostilities towards the town of Avdiivka, trying to improve their “tactical position,” but they were unsuccessful and had withdrawn, the General Staff added.

Avdiivka is immediately north of the city of Donetsk — but despite months of bombardment remains in Ukrainian hands. 

However, Eduard Basurin, a spokesperson for the DPR militia, claimed that preparations are underway “to carry out the tasks planned for the liberation of the republic’s territory. The same thing is happening in Avdiivka and in the Horlivka area.”

The goal of DPR forces was to surround Ukrainian forces in Bakhmut as well as ensure that territory held by the DPR is beyond the range of Ukrainian artillery, Basurin said, adding that advances by DPR forces along with Russian units and the Luhansk People’s militia would “make it possible to force” Ukrainian forces to retreat deep into the Ukraine territory, thereby securing both Donetsk and Yasynуvata and Makiivka from shelling.”

Here’s a look at the areas under Russian control: