A member of the 3rd Separate Assault Brigade of the Armed Forces of Ukraine prepares to fire a 152-mm howitzer shell with the inscription "From Ihor [in revenge] for Mariupol," amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine, near Bakhmut on February 6.
Russian invading forces continue to launch attacks along the front lines in eastern Ukraine, Kyiv’s military reported on February 7, as Ukrainian officials continued to warn that Moscow was preparing for a fresh offensive in the region.
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Over the past 24 hours, Russia’s military launched six missile and 24 air strikes, according to the General Staff of the Ukrainian military, which also reported 75 artillery strikes, including on civilian targets in the eastern and southeastern regions of Kharkiv, Donetsk, Dnipropetrovsk, and Kherson.
It said there had been an unspecified number of civilian casualties.
Later, Pavlo Kyrylenko, the head of the Donetsk regional military administration, reported that one person had been killed and five wounded as a result of overnight shelling in the Donetsk region.
Over the past 24 hours, 1,030 Russian soldiers were killed in Ukraine, the General Staff of the Ukrainian military claimed on February 7, although such casualty figures are impossible to verify.
The fresh fighting comes after Luhansk Governor Serhiy Hayday said that Russia is deploying reinforcements in eastern Ukraine ahead of a possible new offensive. "We are seeing more and more [Russian] reserves being deployed in our direction. We are seeing more equipment being brought in...," Hayday told Ukrainian television on February 6. "They bring ammunition that is used differently than before; it is not round-the-clock shelling anymore. They are slowly starting to save, getting ready for a full-scale offensive," Hayday claimed. Britain's Defense Intelligence said in its daily report on February 7 that Russia's military has likely attempted since early January to restart major offensive operations aimed at capturing Ukraine-held parts of Donetsk. However, Russian forces have gained little territory as they "lack munitions and maneuver units required for a successful offensive," it said .
President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said Ukrainian forces are fighting attempts by Russian troops to surround the city of Bakhmut and break the city's defenses. Speaking in his evening address on February 6, Zelenskiy thanked every soldier involved, singling out specific brigades.
Intense fighting has been raging for weeks around Bakhmut and the nearby towns of Soledar and Vuhledar, Ukraine’s presidential office said. For months, Russia's main target in eastern Ukraine has been Bakhmut, where its state media said the Wagner mercenary group had gained a foothold. Ukraine said late on February 6 that Russian forces had trained tank, mortar, and artillery fire there in the past 24 hours. The European Union said Zelenskiy has been invited to take part in a summit of EU leaders, amid reports he could be in Brussels as soon as this week, in what would be only his second known foreign trip since the invasion began nearly a year ago. Zelenskiy's office did not respond to a request from Reuters for comment.