Ukrainian commander-in-chief Oleksandr Syrskyi highlighted increasing difficulties on the eastern front on Wednesday, despite President Volodymyr Zelensky’s earlier assurance that Russian advance in the east was halted.

Ukraine’s army chief said Wednesday the situation on the battlefield was “difficult” and that Russian forces could be poised to strike deep into Ukrainian lines in the eastern Donetsk region.

Kyiv’s forces are on the defensive across the 1,000-kilometre (620-mile) front lines in the east and south after Moscow made its first territorial gains in almost a year.

Commander-in-Chief Oleksandr Syrsky said he had visited two brigades “where the situation is gradually becoming more complicated and there is a threat of enemy units advancing deep into our battle formations.”

Ukraine is facing a shortage of both manpower and ammunition amid hold-ups to Western aid and a domestic debate over how to recruit more soldiers with the war now in its third year.

“In general, the operational situation on the eastern front remains difficult. The enemy continues to conduct offensive actions,” in a number of areas of the Donetsk region, Syrsky said in a post on Telegram.

“At the same time, probably due to the high level of losses, the activity of the enemy in other areas of the front decreased significantly,” he added, without providing further detail.

In an interview with French media on Monday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Russia’s advance had been “halted” in the east and that the situation was “much better” than it had been three months ago.

With AFP