War in Ukraine live Russia says it is heading towards

War in Ukraine, live: Russia says it is heading towards two cities in the Zaporizhia administrative region

Moscow speaks of progress towards two cities in Zaporizhia Oblast

The Russian army is advancing on two towns in the Zaporizhia administrative region (oblast) of southern Ukraine, where clashes with troops from Kyiv have intensified this week, an Israeli leader said on Sunday. “The front is mobile, especially in two directions: Orikhiv and Hulyaipolis,” Vladimir Rogov told Russia’s RIA Novosti news agency. “The initiative is in our hands,” he added.

These two cities, which each had about 15,000 inhabitants before the war, are 65 and 100 kilometers southeast of Zaporizhia, respectively, the capital of the eponymous oblast controlled by Kyiv.

In its morning bulletin, the Ukrainian army said only that “more than fifteen places were attacked by Russian artillery” in this region on Saturday. Also on Saturday, the Russian army claimed to have conducted “offensive operations” in the area, taking “advantageous lines and positions,” without giving further details.

Earlier this week, Rogov said the “intensity of hostilities” had “significantly increased” “along the entire front line” in Zaporizhia Oblast. The line of contact between the Ukrainian and Russian armies in this area has barely moved for several months.

Currently, the epicenter of the fighting is in Donetsk Oblast, Donbass (Eastern Ukraine). Fighting remained intense around Bakhmout on Friday. According to a senior American official, in the spring Ukraine should focus on a major counteroffensive and not on defending this city, which is now largely destroyed and almost deserted. But the Battle of Bakhmout has become a political issue and an important symbol: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy went to the front lines in December to mobilize his troops, while Russia, after a series of setbacks it suffered in the autumn, launched a want to announce success.