A video recording of the Ukrainian army showed that Ukrainian forces destroyed several vehicles of a Russian armored column as it tried to cross a river in the Donbass region, while Moscow appears to be refocusing its offensive on the east after Kyiv succeeded again in repelling the advance of its forces.
The British Ministry of Defense said that Russia is making a major military effort near Severodonetsk and Izyum and is trying to advance towards Sloviansk and Kramatorsk to complete its takeover of the Donbass industrial region.
Russian-backed separatists said they had seized the Zarya chemical plant in Robyzhny, near Severodonetsk.
Ukraine has managed to push Russian forces away from Kharkiv, the country’s second largest city, in the fastest advance since Russian forces retreated from Kyiv and the northeast more than a month ago, but Moscow is still bombing villages north of Kharkiv.
The city, which has been heavily bombarded, has been calm for at least two weeks, with Reuters reporters confirming that Ukraine now controls the area extending to the Seversky Donets River, about 40 km to the east.
In the southern port of Mariupol, Russian forces intensified their bombing of the Azovstal steel plant, the last stronghold of fighters from the Azov Battalion and the Ukrainian army in a city almost completely controlled by Russia after a siege that lasted for more than two months.
A Reuters video showed explosions and thick smoke on Thursday, and Ukrainian fighters released footage of gun battles. Some of the civilians who were recently evacuated from tunnels below the facility where they were sheltering spoke of appalling conditions.
Separately, Ukraine said it had damaged a Russian Navy supply ship near Snake Island, a small but strategically important island where Ukrainian military intelligence says its location allows for control of civilian shipping.
Satellite images from Maxar, a private US-based company, showed the effects of what it said were possible missile attacks on a Russian landing ship near the island.