Ukraine-Russia war – live: Putin’s troops pushed back in ‘thunderous assault operation’ in Donetsk

Ukraine has made gains in Donetsk and the south of the country amid its ongoing counteroffensive, Kyiv has claimed.

Ukrainian troops near the frontline town of Avdiivka took advantage of Russian forces focusing on one sector to advance and capture part of the village of Opytne south of the city, the head of the local military administration said.

“In my opinion, this is very significant,” Vitaliy Barabash told national television. “To be frank, the enemy overlooked this southern direction a bit.”

He called the advance a “thunderous assault operation” and said fighting was underway in the settlement.

Earlier, Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelensky said his country could still achieve a major breakthrough in its counteroffensive before changing weather conditions make it harder to advance,

Mr Zelensky’s forces have broken through the first of three main Russian defensive lines in Zaporizhzhia and could make more gains in the weeks to come, he said, though a breakthrough will not be “tomorrow or the day after tomorrow”.

“If we push them [Russia] from the south, they will run,” he told The Economist in an interview.

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