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As Ukraine waits for US military aid, Russia makes further advances in the east

As the US prepares to transfer significant military aid to Ukraine following the Senate passing funding legislation worth $61 billion, reports from eastern Ukraine continue to highlight Kyiv’s sliding fortunes on the battlefield.

The village of Ocheretyne remains a clear focus for Russian forces, with DeepState – a Ukrainian monitoring group – showing almost daily Russian advances westward along a stretch of high ground.

The terrain is of central importance for Ukraine’s defensive line along this part of the front and has been a main target for Russian forces since they captured the industrial town of Avdiivka – about 16 kilometers (10 miles) away – in February.

Biden signs $95.3 billion foreign aid bill for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan

US President Joe Biden on Wednesday signed the Ukraine aid bill into law on Wednesday after it passed with wide bipartisan support in the Senate, so “we can quickly send weapons and equipment to Ukraine to meet their urgent battlefield needs.”

Ukraine has said for months it urgently needs vital munitions, including air defense and artillery ammunition.

Ukrainian soldiers on the front lines have spoken of being badly outgunned by Russian forces. President Volodymyr Zelensky recently said the ratio was 10 to one in Russia’s favor.

Russia advancing on strategic eastern town

The latest frontline mapping from DeepState shows the center of Ocheretyne, including the railway station, in Russian hands, with Ukraine also losing ground in the neighboring village of Novobakhmutivka, immediately to the south.

A Ukrainian military blogger, Bohdan Myroshnykov, wrote, “In Novobakhmutivka, the enemy made progress in the village, advancing up to 400 meters in depth. Previously, they controlled only the south-eastern part of the village, but now they control almost 3/4 of the village.”

Taking a straight line south, the next two villages – Berdychi and Semenivka – are also seeing Russian troops try to push forward, reports suggest.

DeepState says an effort to advance further west along the ridge line from Ocheretyne was prevented by a successful Ukrainian counterattack by the 100th brigade but makes clear that Ukraine’s armed forces need US military aid to arrive in country as soon as possible.

“The forces are not equal, the [Russian] b******s outnumber the [Ukrainian] defence forces in infantry. This is not to mention the [aerial guided bombs] KABs, artillery and equipment,” the monitoring site says.

Meanwhile, around Chasiv Yar, about 40 kilometers to the north, both Ukrainian and Russian reports suggest Ukraine has succeeded in stopping Russian advances, at least for the moment.

“In the Chasiv Yar direction, the offensive of the Russian forces ‘stalled’ on the eastern outskirts,” a Russian military blogger, Wargonzo, reports, though fierce fighting continues, the site adds.

Ukraine’s DeepState appears to concur, highlighting successes for Kyiv’s forces in the nearby village of Ivanivske, while also pointing to continued Russian build-up in the city of Bakhmut, just a few kilometers to the east.

“[Ukraine’s] 92nd Brigade managed to regain control over some positions south of Ivanivske. The enemy is mainly conducting infantry attacks; no significant changes have been recorded. The enemy continues to gather up reserves of personnel and equipment for temporary deployment in Bakhmut,” the site says.

Ukraine’s army chief Oleksandr Syrskyi has said he believes Vladimir Putin has ordered the capture of Chasiv Yar by May 9, the day Russia celebrates its victory over Nazi Germany in 1945.

This post appeared first on cnn.com

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