Russia’s war in Ukraine

Several destroyed civilian cars are seen on a road near the Ukrainian town of Balakliia on September 13 in the Kharkiv region. (Glen Garanich/Reuters)

As Ukrainian units go on the offensive in parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, Russian forces are trying to gain ground elsewhere, according to the Ukrainian military.

The General Staff of the Military, in its latest bulletin, said that Ukrainian units had successfully repelled Russian attacks around the city of Bakhmut, while Russian artillery and airstrikes continued to pound settlements near the frontline across Donetsk.

“During the day, the enemy carried out two missile attacks, eight air strikes and 13 attacks from missile artillery systems,” according to the military.

There has also been Russian mortar and tank fire in the Zaporizhzhia region, the General Staff said.

Looting Claims: The military said there was heavy looting by retreating Russian forces in the Kharkiv and Luhansk areas.

The General Staff said that on the Starobilsk-Luhansk road, in the direction of Luhansk, “about 300 civilian cars, mostly with Kharkiv region state license plates, were seen on trailers driven by Russian military personnel.”

In the south, around the city of Polohy, Russian troops were also reportedly stealing private cars. And in Nova Kakhovka, Kherson region, the Russians “began to massively remove furniture and appliances from temporarily abandoned settlements.”

CNN cannot confirm the army’s claims, but there has been widespread evidence of looting in Kharkiv and other previously occupied Russian areas.

Claims of military shortages: The General Staff also said the Russian military was graduating cadets from some Defense Ministry academies, such as the Black Sea Higher Naval School, to make up for a shortage of junior officers.

“The shortage of tactical-level commanders is due to the recent incidents of reserve officers refusing to sign contracts. The morale and psychological state of enemy personnel continues to decline,” the General Staff confirmed. “A significant number of military personnel do not return to their military units after the holidays.”