August 17, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news

By Heather Chen, Josh Berlinger, Adrienne Vogt and Aditi Sangal, CNN

Updated 2:15 a.m. ET, August 18, 2022
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2:52 a.m. ET, August 17, 2022

Russians are shelling positions up to 800 times daily, Ukrainian official says

From CNN's Tim Lister and Kostan Nechyporenko

A man tries to extinguish fire in a damaged house after a Russian airstrike in Slavyansk, Donetsk oblast on Tuesday.
A man tries to extinguish fire in a damaged house after a Russian airstrike in Slavyansk, Donetsk oblast on Tuesday.

Valeriy Zaluzhny, the commander-in-chief of Ukraine's armed forces, has acknowledged that Russian forces "continue to advance" in Donbas but said the "intense" situation is "fully controlled."

"I have informed my counterpart about the situation at the front line. It is intense but fully controlled," Zaluzhny said after talking with Gen. Wayne Donald Eyre, chief of the Defence Staff of Canada.
Zaluzhny added that "the enemy continues to advance along the entire front line. At the same time, the enemy carries out approximately 700-800 [actions of] shelling of our positions every day, using from 40 to 60,000 pieces of ammunition."

That estimate is in line with many made by Western analysts about the volume of ammunition being used by Russian forces, after a relative lull in early July.

"The enemy’s main efforts are concentrated on pushing our troops back from the Donetsk oblast. The most intense situation is now on the axis of Avdiivka-Pisky-Mariinka," Zaluzhny said. 

That axis is a stretch of some 25 kilometers (15 miles) west of Donetsk.

8:22 p.m. ET, August 16, 2022

Russian attempt to break through north of Sloviansk foiled but fresh battles brew in southern Donetsk

From CNN's Tim Lister

Russian forces tried to advance again from north of Sloviansk but their offensive was unsuccessful and they withdrew, the Ukrainian military said.

The battle occurred near Mazanivka on the border of the Donetsk and Kharkiv regions, an area that first saw Russian efforts to break through more than 40 days ago, according to the General Staff.

Another Russian assault further east also failed, despite support from combat aircraft, it added. "Near Ivano-Dariivka, with the support of aviation, the enemy conducted unsuccessful assault actions. It suffered losses and withdrew," the General Staff said.

Fighting has been going on in that district for well over a month. 

Ukrainians say Russian objectives remain the same — they are "focused on conducting active offensive and assault actions in the Kramatorsk, Bakhmut, and Avdiivka directions," the General Staff said.

Bakhmut and Avdiivka have been within a few miles of the front lines for several months, but they remain in Ukrainian hands.

The Ukrainians say further efforts to advance in the Bakhmut area had been rebuffed.

"Offensive and assault actions of the occupiers in the Soledar, Zaitseve and Maiorsk districts ended with losses and withdrawal," it added, saying another attack just south of Bakhmut [in the Vershyna area] had also been foiled.

Meanwhile, the Russians appear to have put renewed effort into breaking through Ukrainian lines in southern Donetsk, between Pavlivka and Novomykhailivka, where "hostilities continue," according to the General Staff.

Further north, in the Kharkiv region, the Ukrainian General Staff said nearly 20 settlements had come under fire, including several close to the border with Russia.

The mayor of Kharkiv, Ihor Terekov, urged civilians to stay indoors after shells landed in the Saltivka district.

8:17 p.m. ET, August 16, 2022

Town near Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant is under Russian rocket fire again, Ukrainian officials say

From CNN's Kostan Nechyporenko

The town of Nikopol across the river from the occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant has again come under rocket fire from the Russians, Ukrainian authorities say.

Residential areas had been hit and four people were injured, said Valentyn Reznichenko, head of the Dnipropetrovsk regional military administration.

Some 20 strikes from GRAD multiple rocket launchers and 10 artillery shells hit Nikopol, he added.

Nikopol has frequently come under fire from Russian forces' based on the opposite bank of the Dnipro River, where the nuclear power plant is situated.

8:09 p.m. ET, August 16, 2022

Russian troops squeezed in south Ukraine as Kyiv ramps up strikes

From CNN's Tim Lister

Russian forces in the occupied Kherson region in southern Ukraine are finding it increasingly difficult to maintain the flow of ammunition, armor and fuel to frontline units, according to Ukrainian officials and Western analysts, thanks to a concerted Ukrainian campaign to cut off river and rail supply lines as well as target ammunition depots.

The Russians are moving command posts from the north of the Dnipro River to the south bank as bridges have been heavily damaged, Ukrainian officials say.

The first deputy head of Kherson regional council, Yuri Sobolevsky, claimed on his Telegram channel that a significant portion of the Russian military command had already left Kherson city. Ukrainian forces are about 25 kilometers (15.5 miles) north of the city, toward Mykolaiv.

Much of Kherson region has been occupied since the beginning of Russia's invasion of Ukraine. As part of Kyiv's counteroffensive to try to retake lost territory in the south, Ukrainian forces are targeting critical bridges to disrupt supply routes in and around Kherson.

The Institute for the Study of War, a US-based think tank, said Sunday that the Russians may be leaving for the other side of the river "to avoid being trapped in Kherson city if Ukrainian strikes cut off all ground lines of communication connecting the right bank of the Dnipro River to the Russian rear."

Videos have appeared on social media in the past few days showing renewed long-range artillery attacks on the Antonivskyi bridge and a road bridge over the dam near Nova Kakhovka, rendering them impassable for heavily armored vehicles. In some areas, the river is up to 1 kilometer (0.6 miles) wide, making pontoon bridges impractical.

The Ukrainians have also targeted several railway lines from the Russian-occupied Crimea Peninsula into the Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions. On Tuesday, a series of fierce explosions rocked the town of Dzankhoy on the main line towards Kherson. Recent video showed a substantial stock of military vehicles and ammunition at the site.

Read the full report here.