KHARKIV OBLAST, UKRAINE, March 18 – Positional fighting continued on the Kupiansk-Svatove-Kreminna line, but there were no confirmed changes to the frontline, the American Institute for the Study of War (ISW) reported.

Russia’s key objective in this frontline direction is to completely occupy Luhansk Oblast and advance to the east of Kharkiv and the north of Donetsk Oblast.

Positional fighting continued northeast of Kupiansk near Synkivka; west of Kreminna; and south of Kreminna near Bilohorivka.

Members of the Chechen Akhmat “Aida” detachment remain active near Bilohorivka. At the same time, units from the 346th Spetsnaz Brigade (under the Russian General Staff’s Main Directorate [GRU]) are said to be conducting operations near Lysychansk.

Map of hostilities in Eastern Ukraine / Source: ISW

Recently, the Ukrainian military announced that Ukrainian forces thwarted three Russian reconnaissance and sabotage units along the Ukrainian-Russian international border near Stara Huta and Brusky, Sumy Oblast.

It remains uncertain whether these Ukrainian military officials were addressing the previously documented Russian reconnaissance and sabotage activities in the same vicinity on March 16 or if these incidents represent fresh Russian operations on March 17 after the initial reports.

Mandatory evacuation of children from Kupiansk district continues. Four children and their families evacuated from this area yesterday. 

In total, 73 children have been evacuated from two communities: 28 from Vilkhuvatka and 45 from Velykyi Burluk, reported the head of the Kharkiv Regional Military Administration, Oleh Syniehubov. This is because the Russian Federation has intensified shelling of border settlements in the Kharkiv Oblast. Russia hits about ten frontline and border settlements in the region with airstrikes every day, Syniehubov said.

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Constant missile attacks and deserted streets: how Kupiansk lives on the front line. It is 10-15 km / 6–9 miles from the front line and 40 km / 25 miles from the border with Russia. The city was severely damaged at the beginning of the full-scale invasion and during the battle for its liberation in September 2022.