KYIV, Ukraine — Ukraine’s top commander has called the situation on the front lines “intense but fully controlled,” saying that Russian forces were trying to advance on multiple fronts as Ukrainian forces continued to grind away at their combat capabilities.
Gen. Valeriy Zaluzhnyi, the top commander of Ukraine’s Armed Forces, said in a statement Tuesday that Russian forces were shelling 700 to 800 Ukrainian positions a day in the south and east of Ukraine, expending between 40,000 to 60,000 pieces of ammunition daily.
The Russians made their last major territorial advance in early July when they captured the city of Lysychansk, securing the Luhansk region in eastern Ukraine. Ukrainian forces have been using long-range Western weapons to try to degrade Russian combat capability, hitting command and control centers, ammunition depots and vital supply routes.
On Wednesday, the Ukrainians said they destroyed a building that was being used by the Russian forces in Lysychansk. The claim could not be independently verified.
At the same time, Russia continued to bombard the port city of Mykolaiv on Ukraine’s southern coast. The city — a key staging ground for Ukrainian forces as they seek to cut off thousands of Russian soldiers west of the Dnipro River — has been under relentless fire.
Ukraine’s southern command said on Wednesday that Russian attack aircraft and helicopters hit Ukrainian positions nine times overnight and destroyed vital port infrastructure.
Oleksandr Senkevych, the mayor of Mykolaiv, said the Russians also had hit a local university.
“Just a few days ago I posted a video showing that there is no military base there,” he said in a message posted on social media. “That ordinary specialists of the university work there: they accept applicants’ documents, sign circular letters, issue diplomas.”
“And tonight, two Russian missiles flew there,” he added. He said that only a security guard had been present at the time of the strike and that he had escaped unharmed.
In the nearby city of Odesa, missile strikes hit a recreation center and destroyed several homes, Serhii Bratchuk, the spokesman of the Odesa regional military administration, said in a Telegram post. Three people were injured, he said.
Odesa, a critical port, has long been in Moscow’s sights as it blockades the Black Sea. But following Russia’s loss of its Black Sea flagship, the Moskva, the British Defense Intelligence service said Tuesday that Russia’s Navy has been struggling to effectively control the waters off Crimea’s coast; Ukraine, meanwhile, has effectively neutralized the threat of an amphibious assault on Odesa, it said.