Russia intensifies attacks in parts of eastern Ukraine, Britain says

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People stand near a crater left by night Russian military strike in central Kharkiv

(Reuters) - Russia has probably stepped up attacks along the Donetsk sector of the Donbas region over the last five days in a move that could be aimed at sucking in Ukrainian troops and foiling a counter-attack, according to Britain's defence ministry.

There has been intense fighting near the towns of Siversk and Bakhmut which are located north of the Russian-occupied city of Donetsk, the ministry said on its daily intelligence bulletin on Twitter on Saturday.

"There is a realistic possibility that Russia has increased its efforts in the Donbas in an attempt to draw in or fix additional Ukrainian units, amid speculation that Ukraine is planning a major counter-offensive," the update added.

(Reporting by Shivani Tanna in Bengaluru; Editing by Pravin Char)