Ukraine battles Russian assault in east as Kyiv allies plan winter aid

KYIV: Russia and Ukraine attacked each other’s forces in heavy fighting in the eastern Donetsk region on Tuesday as KievUkraine’s allies have met in Paris to provide emergency aid to help Ukrainians survive frigid winter temperatures.
Moscow is fighting for full control of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, two of the four territories the Kremlin claims to have annexed in votes rejected by most countries as illegal.
Moscow is also attacking Ukraine’s energy infrastructure with missile and drone strikes, sometimes cutting power to millions of civilians who are suffering the bloodiest conflict in Europe. since World War II.
“More than 50% of the territory of the Donetsk People’s Republic has been liberated,” Denis Pushilin, the Russian-installed administrator in the Moscow-controlled area, told Russian state news agency RIA.
Reuters was unable to independently verify the report.
Fierce fighting in the region in recent weeks has made it unclear which part of Donetsk is under the control of Russia and Ukraine.
Three civilians have been killed in the Donetsk region in the last 24 hours, Regional Governor Pavlo Kyrylenko said on his Telegram channel, while in the south Kherson region, regional governor Yaroslav Yanushevych reported that 3 people were killed and 15 injured in Russian artillery attacks in the past day.
He said the Russian military shelled the Kherson area controlled by Ukraine 57 times.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that Russia’s continuous shelling of the frontline in Donetsk had completely destroyed the city of Bakhmut and caused heavy damage to the city of Avdiivka, located in the center of the region.
On Monday, the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine said that Russia continues to focus its efforts on advancing and capturing both cities.
Reuters was unable to independently verify the latest battlefield accounts.
Belarus, a close ally of Russia, has conducted a quick test of its military’s combat readiness following an order from President Alexander Lukashenko, the Belarusian Defense Ministry said on Tuesday.
It is the latest in a series of military actions, including last week’s counterterrorism drills, that have raised concerns that Russia could launch an attack on Ukraine from Belarusian territory within months. next.
Meanwhile, in Paris, some 70 countries and organizations will discuss what can be provided between now and March to sustain Ukraine’s water, food, energy, health and transport sources. The second meeting between France, Ukraine and about 500 companies will look at what can be invested and implemented in the short and long term.
A French diplomat told reporters in a pre-meeting briefing that the immediate priority was to ensure that the power grid did not collapse and water pipes were not frozen.
Upon arrival at the meeting, French President Emmanuel Macron said there was an agreement on the removal of heavy weapons from Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant and that negotiations were underway on ways around the issue. this topic.
The G7 Group on Monday promised to “respond to Ukraine’s urgent requests” after Zelenskyy called for the supply of modern tanks, artillery and long-range weapons. Zelenskyy also called on G7 leaders at an online meeting to support his idea of ​​convening a special Global Peace Summit to bring peace to his country.
The summit will focus on implementing Kyiv’s 10-point peace plan, which emphasizes Russia’s full withdrawal of troops from Ukraine and no territorial concessions from Kiev.
Our President Joe Biden told Zelenskyy on Sunday that Washington’s priority is to strengthen Ukraine’s air defense capabilities. The United States also shipped the first batch of electrical equipment to Ukraine under an aid package agreed last month.
A senior US official said Russia is “deliberately freezing Ukrainians to death as we enter winter”.
Moscow denies intentionally attacking civilians, but the war has displaced millions and killed thousands of non-combatants.
Jan Egeland, head of the Norwegian Refugee Council, said “unlivable conditions” are likely to cause another wave of Ukrainian refugees to flood into Europe during the winter.
Sergey Kovalenko, head of YASNO, which supplies Kyiv with electricity, said on his Facebook page that the power shortage in the capital is very serious.
No peace talks have been conducted to end the conflict, which Moscow describes as a “special military operation” against security threats posed by its neighbour. Ukraine and its Western allies call it a gratuitous imperialist occupation.
Russia’s RIA news agency quoted Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Vershinin as saying that Russia has not seen a “constructive” approach from the United States to the conflict in Ukraine.


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