Russia intensifies attacks on liberated Kherson, eastern Ukraine

KYIV/BAKHMUT: Russian forces intensify mortar and artillery attacks on newly liberated city Kherson in the south Ukraine Ukraine’s military said on Wednesday, while applying constant pressure along the front lines in the eastern regions of the country.
Russia The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine said in its morning report that it had fired 33 missiles from multiple rocket launchers at civilian targets in Kherson in the 24 hours to early Wednesday. Russia denies targeting civilians.
Fierce fighting also took place around the Ukrainian-controlled city of Bakhmut, now largely in ruins, in the eastern Donetsk Oblast, and in the north, around the cities of Svatove and Kreminna in Luhansk Oblast, where the Ukrainian forces are trying to break through the Russian defenses. current.
Officials said air raid sirens also sounded across Ukraine on Wednesday morning. Reports on Ukrainian social media said a nationwide warning may have been issued after the Russian jets based in Belarus took off. Reuters was unable to immediately verify that information.
The UK Ministry of Defense said in its latest update on the military situation in Ukraine that Russia has likely strengthened the Kreminna front-line area because the area is logistically important to Moscow and has become a relatively vulnerable after Ukraine’s recent advances westward.
There is still no prospect of negotiations to end the war, currently in its 11th year.
President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy is aggressively pushing for a 10-point peace plan that envisages Russia fully respecting Ukraine’s territorial integrity and withdrawing all its troops, something Moscow refuses to contemplate.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Sunday he was ready to negotiate but only on his terms, which included Ukraine accepting the loss of four regions – Luhansk and Donetsk to the east, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia to the south. Together, they make up about a fifth of Ukraine’s territory.
“There has been little change on the front line, but the pressure from the enemy is increasing, both in terms of the number of troops as well as the type and amount of equipment,” said Ukrainian military analyst Oleh. Zhdanov.
Zhdanov said that fighting has increased with Russia deploying armored vehicles and tanks.
Russian forces abandoned the city of Kherson last month, one of Ukraine’s most significant victories in the war. The Kherson region, located at the mouth of the mighty Dnipro River and serving as the gateway to the annexed Crimea peninsula by Russia, is of strategic importance.
The joy of the people of Kherson at the liberation of the city quickly gave way to fear in the wake of incessant Russian shelling from the eastern bank of the Dnipro, and many people had to flee.
Kyrylo Tymoshenko, Zelenskiy’s deputy chief of staff, said on Telegram that Russian forces shelled the maternity ward of a hospital in Kherson. No one was injured, he added, and staff members and patients had been moved to shelters.
Reuters was unable to immediately verify the report.
A Russian attack killed at least 10 people and wounded 58 in Kherson last Saturday, Ukraine said.
In its report on Wednesday, the General Staff of Ukraine also reported that Russia continued shelling in the Zaporizhzhia region and the Sumy and Kharkiv regions in northeastern Ukraine, near the Russian border.
Reuters was unable to verify the battlefield reports.
In Bakhmut, home to 70,000 people before the war and now a bombed ghost town, which Russia has been trying for months to overcome at great human cost, Reuters reporters this week This saw fires burn in a large residential building. Debris littered the streets and the windows of most buildings were blown out.
“Our building was destroyed. There was a shop in our building, it’s not there anymore,” said Oleksandr, 85, adding that he is the only resident left in the building. there.
Putin launched the invasion of Ukraine on February 24, calling it a “special military operation” to demilitarize his neighbour, which he sees as posing a threat to Russia. .
Russia planned to subjugate Ukraine within days, but its forces were defeated on the outskirts of Kyiv in the spring and forced to withdraw from other areas in the fall.
Putin responded by calling up hundreds of thousands of reservists for the first time since the Second World War.
On Tuesday, Putin retaliated against Western countries imposing a price ceiling of $60 a barrel on Russian oil on December 5, saying Moscow would now ban oil sales to countries that implement it.
This ceiling, unheard of even during the Cold War between the West and the Soviet Union, is intended to cripple Russia’s military efforts in Ukraine – without upsetting the market by actually preventing block the country’s oil supply.
The executive order banning oil from Putin was presented as a direct response to the “unfriendly acts and contrary to international law by the United States and the foreign states and international organizations joining them.” “.
Russia is the world’s second-largest oil exporter after Saudi Arabia, and any real disruption to its sales would have far-reaching consequences for energy supplies. global quantity.
In a late-night speech on Tuesday, Zelenskyy said 2023 would be a decisive year. “We understand the risks of winter. We understand what needs to be done in spring.”


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