Ukraine warns front 'worsened' as Russia claims fresh gains

Ukraine's army leader admitted Sunday that Kiev's position on the battlefield has worsened after Russian forces captured another village in the east, pressing their advantage in manpower and ammunition.

Russia's troops are advancing in the eastern Donetsk region as Kiev awaits the arrival of much-needed U.S. weapons that it hopes will stabilise the fragile front lines.

The Ukrainian army said it had "repulsed 55 attacks" in several villages north and west of Novobakhmutivka.

These included Ocheretyne, where heavy fighting was reported on Sunday.

"The situation at the front has worsened," Ukrainian commander-in-chief Oleksandr Syrsky said in a Facebook post Sunday.

Ukrainian troops had "retreated" westwards to new defensive lines in a section of the front that runs past the city of Donetsk, controlled by pro-Russian forces since 2014.

Russia has "a significant advantage in forces and means" and had been able to notch up advances amid "heavy fighting", Syrsky said.

"In some sectors the enemy had tactical success, and in some areas our troops managed to improve the tactical position," he added.

Russia's defence ministry earlier on Sunday claimed its troops had captured the village of Novobakhmutivka in the Donetsk region — around 10 kilometres (six miles) north of Avdiivka, which they seized in February.

 'The Russians are attacking' 

The stark assessment of the picture facing Ukrainian troops comes at the end of week of ups and downs for Kiev.

The United States finally approved a $61 billion package of financial aid after months of political wrangling, unlocking much-needed arms for Ukraine's stretched troops.

But on the battlefield Russia chalked up more successes.<...

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