A Ukrainian commander in the region told Reuters last week that his troops had broken through the toughest lines, reaching less heavily fortified areas, and were now expected to advance more quickly. Reuters could not independently verify this.
Kyiv rarely provides details of its offensive operations.
In a statement Thursday, Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar reported unspecified successes near Novopokropivka, without providing details.
He also said Ukrainian troops were advancing near Bakhmut, in the east, the only town Russia captured in its offensive earlier this year. Heavy fighting hit villages south of the city, he said.
Ukraine has also stepped up drone strikes against targets deep inside Russia and Russian-held territory in Ukraine.
Russia’s Defense Ministry said it had destroyed a new Ukrainian drone in the Bryansk region in southern Russia.
They earlier reported a nighttime drone strike in Bryansk and said they had shot down a missile fired at Crimea, which was occupied and annexed by Russia in 2014.
The previous night, Moscow reported attempted Ukrainian drone attacks in six Russian regions, including one that caused a large fire at a military air base in Pskov in northern Russia.
While Ukraine rarely comments directly on specific attacks in Russia, President Volodymyr Zelensky appeared to boast about the Pskov attack twice on Thursday.
“Our weapons output Ukraine’s new weapons is 700 km away.” He said in evening video address.
Ukraine’s Western allies generally prohibit Kyiv from using weapons they supply to attack Russian territory, but say Ukraine has the right to attack military targets with its own weapons.
The attacks in recent weeks, including several in central Moscow over the past month, have brought the impact of war to many Russians for the first time after 18 months in which Russia targeted Ukraine with air strikes across the country.