Sunday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky reported that intense fighting between Russian and Ukrainian forces was occurring near the towns of Bakhmut and Soledar in the Donetsk area of eastern Ukraine.
This weekend, fighting has been especially violent in the Donetsk and Luhansk areas, which are part of the broader industrial Donbas, and the strategically vital Kherson province in the south. They make up three of the four regions that Putin declared to be part of Russia last month, a move that Ukraine and its Western allies have deemed to be unconstitutional.
Since capturing key industrial towns Lysychansk and Sievierodonetsk in June and July, Bakhmut has been a target of Russia's armed troops as they slowly advance through the region. Just to the north of Bakhmut is Soledar.
"The key hot spots in Donbas are Soledar and Bakhmut," Zelenskiy stated in his nightly video message. Extremely violent conflict is occurring there.
The General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Soldiers stated that Russian forces pounded Ukrainian positions on many fronts on Sunday, with Kharkiv, Donetsk, and Kherson region towns among the targets.
Oleh Zhdanov, a Ukrainian military analyst, asserted that the heaviest fighting was taking place north of Bakhmut and that Ukrainian forces had withstood Russian attacks on the towns of Torske and Spring over the preceding twenty-four hours.
"(The Russians) have decided to move through Torske and Sprine," Zhdanov wrote online. "These positions are regularly vacated and filled by others. To counter the Russian superiority in these regions, our command is deploying additional troops and weaponry there."
Sunday, the Russian defense ministry reported that its forces had thwarted Ukrainian advances in the Donetsk, Kherson, and Mykolaiv districts, incurring what it termed "significant losses."
Russia has also stated that it will continue to use long-range precision-guided weapons to strike military and energy targets in Ukraine.
Rybar, a pro-Russian military channel on Telegram, reported that Ukrainian armed forces once again bombarded Belgorod, a city in southern Russia that acts as a staging area for Russian soldiers.
Anti-aircraft units intercepted the majority of the attacks, but two explosions occurred near the airport. It was stated that three people were hurt.
The administration building in Donetsk, the capital of the Donetsk region, has been destroyed by shelling by Ukrainian forces, according to the head of the Donetsk area's administration, which is supported by Russia.
"The building was severely destroyed due to the direct hit. It is a wonder that no lives were lost "While evaluating the destruction, Alexei Kulemzin stated that all city services were still operational.
There was no immediate response from Ukraine to the strike on Donetsk city, which was seized by rebels backed by Russia in 2014 along with large portions of the Donbas.
The combat accounts could not be independently confirmed by Reuters.
Gunmen open fire
Authorities announced on Sunday that Russia has launched a criminal inquiry after gunmen killed 11 and wounded 15 at a military training facility near the Ukrainian border.
The Russian news agency RIA reported, citing the ministry of defense, that two attackers opened fire with small guns during a firearms training exercise on Saturday, targeting servicemen who had enlisted to fight in Ukraine. RIA reported that the shooters, whom it described as "terrorists," were shot and killed.
The event in southwestern Belgorod was the latest setback for Russian President Vladimir Putin's "special military operation" in Ukraine. It occurred a week after an explosion damaged a bridge connecting the Russian mainland to Crimea, the Ukrainian peninsula that Russia invaded in 2014.
The Russian Ministry of Defense stated that the attackers were from an ex-Soviet nation, but did not elaborate. Oleksiy Arestovych, a top Ukrainian official, stated that the two men were from Tajikistan, a predominantly Muslim nation in Central Asia and that they had opened fire on the others following a dispute over religion.
Reuters was not immediately able to validate Arestovych's, a prominent war pundit, statements or independently confirm casualty numbers and other facts.
Later, two witnesses informed Reuters that they had witnessed Russian air defense systems repelling air strikes on Belgorod.
"The sea is on our side"
As a result of last weekend's attack on the Crimea Bridge, a spokeswoman for Ukraine's Southern Military Command stated that Russian soldiers were experiencing serious material shortages, including ammunition.
"Almost 75% (of Russian military supplies in southern Ukraine) came across that bridge," Natalia Humeniuk said on Ukrainian television, adding that strong winds have also halted ships in the region.
"Now even the sea is on our side," Humeniuk declared.
Putin blamed Ukrainian security forces for the bridge explosion and, in revenge, authorized the largest aerial onslaught against Ukrainian cities, including the capital Kyiv, since Russia's invasion began on February 24.