Retaking Villages Leaves Ukrainian Troops Exposed and Diving for Cover

The combat taking place now is primarily in two locations about 50 miles apart, south of Velyka Novosilka and south of Orikhiv. After early uncertainty, these appear to be more than mere feints or probing attacks by Ukraine. By attacking in two places, Ukraine is forcing Russia to decide where to deploy reinforcements.

Both sides are now in a guessing game.

So far, the battle to the south of Velyka Novosilka, fought in the Donetsk region, where shadows of clouds played across fields of high green grass, wildflowers, small lakes and reedy swamps, has gone better for the Ukrainians than the fighting near Orikhiv, which is in the Zaporizhzhia region.

Hanna Malyar, a deputy minister of defense, said Thursday that the counteroffensive was progressing “gradually but steadily.” Gen. Oleksiy Hromov, a deputy commander of operations in the general staff, said Ukraine had advanced in total 6.5 kilometers, or about four miles.

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