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Russia and Ukraine gave clashing accounts over the weekend about what is going on along the frontline in the Zaporizhzhia region, with Moscow saying it has stopped Kyiv’s counter-offensive and Ukraine’s army saying it keeps pressing on.

Ukraine has retaken a few small villages in the southeastern Zaporizhzhia region since the start of its counter-offensive in June, but progress has been small and the vast frontline in the country’s east and south has changed little over the past year.

“The enemy has been stopped and their counter-offensive, which has been so hyped, has been completely halted,” Yevgeny Balitsky, the top Moscow-installed official in the Zaporizhzhia region, told the Russian state news agency in remarks published on Monday.

Balitsky said that small battles were ongoing near the village of Robotyne and near the village of Shcherbaky, which is about 22 km to the northwest.

With both sides controlling the spread of battlefield information and claiming successes in small parcels of land, it has been difficult to establish who has been making meaningful advances and how fierce the fighting has been.

Ukraine’s General Staff said on Sunday evening that Russian forces made several unsuccessful assaults near Robotyne and Verbove, a village a few km (miles) east of it.

The Russian defence ministry said in its daily briefing on Sunday that Russian forces have repelled Ukraine’s attacks near Verbove and Robotyne.

Ukraine’s Zelensky says ‘not ready’ to talk to Russia

But analysts at the Washington-based Institute for the Study of War think-tank said that Ukraine made “limited advances west of Verbove.”

Ukraine’s General Stuff also said that Ukrainian forces continued offensive operations in the Melitopol direction, in the western Zaporizhzhia region, “exhausting the enemy all along the frontline” there.

Russia said over the weekend its air defence forces repelled Ukrainian air attacks there.

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy denied over the weekend that the war with Russia was at a “stalemate” after his Commander-in-chief General Valery Zaluzhnyi said the conflict was moving towards static and attritional fighting. Reuters

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