The Russian Defense Ministry has announced that its front line assault units have "improved their forward positions while conducting offensive actions" in an area bordering Russia’s Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, in the northeast.
These successes were announced of the Kupyansk area in the Kharkiv Oblast, and further the military claimed to have repelled seven Ukrainian counter-attacks over the prior 24 hours. It comes also as Western enthusiasm for Ukraine's prospects are waning, given the much vaunted counteroffensive is failing.
The Ukrainian side appears to have confirmed the Russian gains and encroachment on the city of Kupyansk, which had earlier in the war been taken back by Ukrainian forces in September 2022, after being held by Russia.
Ukrainian authorities ordered the mandatory evacuation of settlements around Kupyansk ahead of what looks to be the second major battle there in five months.
Newsweek described of Ukraine's evacuation order for civilians as follows:
The Kupyansk city administration said on Wednesday that "mandatory evacuation" was being enacted in 37 settlements in the territories that were liberated by Ukrainian forces last year.
Russian troops are said to be less than five miles from the city and there are concerns that their gains could impact Kyiv's ongoing counteroffensive.
This includes over 11,000 people which are expected to receive temporary housing and shelter. Authorities said the forced evacuation was necessary due to the "constant shelling and taking into account the security situation" in the area.
"The enemy has significantly increased the shelling of settlements close to the front line and continues to terrorize the civilian population," Kharkiv Regional State Administrator Oleg Synegubov confirmed in a statement on Telegram.
But synonymous with Russian gains and what appears the beginnings of a broader surge against Ukraine front lines, there has been a significant ramping up of drone attacks on Russian territory. Major sabotage attacks also appear to be ongoing.
Russia said its territory was subject to some dozen drone attacks overnight, with the defense ministry saying it downed 11 inbound miliary drones near Crimea, and intercepted two others targeting Moscow.
The defense ministry (MoD) described in a briefing that Ukrainian drones were shot down over Crimea's Sevastopol, and "another nine were suppressed by means of electronic warfare and crashed in the Black Sea." Additionally, "Two UAVs flying in the direction of the city of Moscow were destroyed," the MoD said.
With these attacks growing riskier and more bold, the Kremlin is likely to unroll a more aggressive Russian offensive as it senses new gains and momentum.