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EDF colonel: Russia's recent progress in Ukraine has been marginal

Col. Eero Rebo.
Col. Eero Rebo. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

While Russia has recently had the initiative in Ukraine, it has not managed to achieve any success, said the General Staff of the volunteer Estonian Defense League (Kaitseliit), Col. Eero Rebo. He did not speculate on the Il-76 crash this week and said Russia is not cooperating the international investigators.

"There has been a significant increase in the number of [Russian troop] attacks in the Luhansk direction in January compared to the previous month. In addition to infantry, more armored vehicles have been used. The Russian Federation forces are holding the initiative there, but progress has been marginal," Rebo said at a briefing organized by the Ministry of Defense on Friday.

Russia may try to attack the border areas of Belgorod and Kharkiv regions in the coming weeks, he said, to try and redirect Ukrainian units away from Kupyansk, which is one of the main focuses of the Russian forces.

The colonel said, that in the direction of Donetsk, the most active battles are near Bahmut, Avdiivka, and Donetsk.

"And very clearly, the main focus of the attack is Avdiivka, where Putin's units have reportedly also been seen conducting reconnaissance and various maneuvers inside the city. But this does not mean that they would have been able to break through, or even obstruct the Ukrainian forces' logistics," the colonel said.

In the direction of Zaporizhzhia, active combat is taking place mainly to the south of Velyka Novosilka, where neither side is making progress, he added.

In the direction of Kherson, Ukrainian units are holding the bridgeheads created on the eastern bank of the Dnieper, and keeping the Russians busy there. The Russians have not been able to force the Ukrainians to retreat despite various attack attempts.

Speaking about the Il-76 transport flight that crashed in Russia's Belgorod region on Wednesday, Rebo said there is little information.

"I believe that this plane crashed. I see a pattern here of trying to use this in an information war and to create uncertainty about the Ukrainians downing planes. However, today we do not have any definite data on what exactly was on board, because the Russian Federation is not cooperating with the international aviation safety authorities," said Colonel Rebo.

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Editor: Mait Ots, Helen Wright

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