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Russia launches new series of drone and missile strikes against Ukraine

Russian forces conducted another series of drone and missile strikes against Ukraine over the weekend.

The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) says that an increasingly regular series of Russian drone and missile strikes are likely part of a new Russian air campaign in Ukraine, aimed at degrading Ukrainian abilities to conduct counteroffensive operations in the near term.

The new Russian air campaign appears to be focused on Kyiv and alleged Ukrainian military-industrial and logistics facilities in deep rear areas.

The alleged targets and limited nature of this campaign indicate that Russian forces are immediately concerned with current Ukrainian capabilities to launch counteroffensive operations, although the diminished effectiveness of these strikes is likely not significantly constraining Ukrainian capabilities writ large.

Ukrainian forces continued counterattacking around Bakhmut on Sunday. Ukrainian Deputy Defence Minister Hanna Malyar reported that Ukrainian forces captured over 10 Russian positions on the northern and southern outskirts of Bakhmut over the course of the day on Sunday.

Ukrainian Eastern Group of Forces Spokesperson Colonel Serhiy Cherevaty emphasised that Ukraine’s main goal in Bakhmut is to destroy Russian concentration areas and encircle the city, not to conduct frontal assaults.

The Russian Defence Ministry denies these reports, saying ‘there has been no breakthrough in the defence of Russian force’. Moscow says that Ukraine has made "massive attempts to break through to the north and south of Bakhmut," claiming "All the attacks of the Armed Forces of Ukraine have been repelled.”

According to the ISW, the Russian Ministry of Defence is attempting to distract from recent Ukrainian successes near Bakhmut by praising Russian defensive efforts against the Ukrainian counterattacks.