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Colonel: Presidential elections in Russia having an effect on battles in Ukraine

Col. Tarmo Kundla.
Col. Tarmo Kundla. Source: ERR

Russia maintains the initiative in ground operations but without significant progress. The upcoming presidential elections in Russia influence the efforts of both sides, said Col. Tarmo Kundla, chief of operations for the EDF Headquarters.

"The upcoming presidential elections in Russia affect the efforts of both sides. Russia is still trying to achieve at least a marginal, but highly visible, tactical victory," Col. Kundla said at the Ministry of Defense's press conference on Friday.

He added that, meanwhile, Ukraine is extending its military operations further into Russian internal territory, hitting high-value targets there.

According to Kundla, Russia's operational-tactical objectives remain unfulfilled, Ukraine's defense is holding, and Ukrainians continue deep operations within Russian territory.

In the north, the situation continues without significant changes. "The Russian armed forces continue to demonstrate their presence and conduct sabotage activities in the areas of Kursk and Bryansk oblasts bordering Ukraine," Kundla stated.

In the northeast, Russia continues armored attacks in the directions of Kupiansk and Lyman, actively using air and artillery forces support. "Although Russia holds the initiative there, the advances are insignificant," Kundla mentioned.

The colonel noted the possibility that in the coming weeks, the Russian armed forces might conduct raids into Ukrainian territory along the border areas of Belgorod and Kharkiv oblasts to tie down the Russian units there and lure Ukrainian forces from the Kupiansk direction to send additional troops.

The Donetsk direction remains the main effort of the Russian armed forces.

Active combat is taking place in the areas of Bakhmut, Avdiivka, and Donetsk. "About half of the Russian armed forces' combat activity occurs in this region," Kundla said.

In the direction of Avdiivka, the Russian Federation has advanced and entered the populated areas of Avdiivka, but Ukrainian supply lines have not yet been cut. "From Ukraine's perspective, the situation is quite critical, but the fight continues," Kundla noted.

The pressure of the Russian Federation continues south of Donetsk towards Marinka. "Russia's goal is still to increase its control in that area and seize the Donetsk region," Kundla explained.

On the Zaporizhzhia and Kherson fronts, the intensity of the Russian armed forces is significantly lower, and Russia has not managed to achieve success.

Ukrainian bridgeheads on the east bank of the Dnipro remain.

"In summary, the initiative on the front line is still in the hands of the Russian armed forces. They have not achieved significant success, but there have been some minor advances. The situation in Avdiivka is relatively critical, but Ukraine's defense is holding," Kundla concluded.

The replacement of the commander-in-chief of the Ukrainian armed forces will not bring changes to the front line in the near term, according to Kundla.

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Editor: Valner Väino

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