Russian-backed forces attack Ukrainian positions near Zolote, losses reported.

Russian-backed forces attacked the positions of Ukrainian Joint Forces units near the villages of Novotoshkivske, Orikhove, Krymske and Khutir Vilnyi in the Luhansk region early on Tuesday, February 18, the press service of the Joint Forces Operation (JFO) has reported on Facebook.

"The invaders are firing on our defenders from weapons proscribed by the Minsk agreements. The enemy is using 120mm mortars. The enemy is also firing from grenade launchers of different systems and heavy machine guns," the report reads.

Supported by massive fire, Russian invaders launched an offensive operation and attempted to advance through the contact line.

At the moment, the fighting is ongoing. Ukrainian defenders have suffered losses amid enemy shelling.

The Ukrainian Joint Forces have delivered an adequate response and are now trying to suppress enemy fire. Enemy losses are being specified.

Journalist Yuriy Butusov wrote on Facebook that such large-scale military operations had not been recorded in Donbas since 2018.

"Today, at 05:00, Russian troops attacked Ukrainian strongholds near Zolote. Now, as of 08:00, heavy fighting is ongoing with the use of all weapons, including 152mm artillery, 120mm mortars. The enemy is attacking the combat units of the 72nd and 93rd mechanized brigades near the disengagement area of Zolote-Orikhove-Novotoshkivske. There was a close fight with a Russian assault group at a strongpoint. Our artillery fired back, reserves are being brought up," he wrote.

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