Russian forces have made advances of "several kilometres" in the north of Ukraine's Luhansk region, but their intent remains "defensive", the Ministry of Defence (MOD) has said.
In the latest defence update on Twitter, the MOD said "heavy fighting has continued in parts of the Scatove-Kremina sector" since the start of March 2023.
"Russia has partially regained control over the immediate approaches to Kremina town, which was under immediate Ukrainian threat earlier in the year.
"In places, Russia has made gains of up to several kilometres."
The MOD added "Russian commanders are likely trying to expand a security zone west from the defence lines they have prepared along higher ground" - as well as integrating the Oskil River.
"They likely seek to recapture Kupiansk, a logistics node," the MOD said.
"Operationally, Russia's intent in the north-east likely remains defensive.
"Commanders probably fear this is one of the sectors where Ukraine could attempt major offensive operations."
It comes after the MOD said, in a previous update, Russian forces were making "creeping gains" in the Donbas region.
The MOD said the Russian operation in the town of Avdiivka, immediately north of Donetsk city, has been "largely" carried out by "the 1st Army Corps of the Donetsk People's Republic".
This is made up of "local personnel who will know the terrain well", the MOD added.
The MOD said the situation is tactically similar to Bakhmut.
"Ukrainian forces continue organised defence, but their supply lines to the west are increasingly threatened by the Russian envelopment operation," the MOD tweeted.