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Ukraine fighting intensifies as Russia seeks to recapture lost cities


KYIV/BAKHMUT: Russian forces fired 33 rockets at civilian targets in the Ukrainian city of Kherson in the 24 hours to early Wednesday, the Ukrainian military said, as fighting intensified with Russia’s deployment deploy more tanks and armored vehicles on the front lines.
The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine said in its morning report that Russian forces were attacking populated areas on the right bank of the Dnipro River near Kherson with mortars and artillery.
Russia denies targeting civilians. Reuters was unable to immediately verify the reports.
Russian forces abandoned Kherson last month, one of Ukraine’s most significant victories in the 11-month war, but fighting has entered a slow and fierce phase amid harsh winter weather. started.
“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.
The heaviest fighting took place around the eastern city of Bakhmut, a bombed ghost town, which Russia had been trying to attack for months at great human cost, and further north in the the cities of Svatove and Kreminna, which Ukraine is trying to liberate. Break through the Russian defenses.
In Bakhmut, home to 70,000 people before the war and now in ruins, a Reuters reporter saw fire burning 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.
Nearby, Ms. Pilaheia, 73, said she had long been used to “constant bangs”.
President of Russia Putin launched the invasion of Ukraine on February 24, calling it a “special military operation” aimed at “discrediting” the neighboring country he saw as 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.
Russia retaliates over price cap
Putin on Tuesday retaliated against Western countries imposing price ceilings on oil prices, saying Russia would ban oil sales to countries that adhere to the ceiling imposed on December 5.
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.
Under the cap, oil traders who want to maintain access to Western finance for critical aspects of global shipping such as insurance must promise to pay no more than $60 a barrel for oil. Shipping by sea from Russia.
This is close to current Russian oil prices, but far below what Russia was able to sell for much of the past year, as unexpected energy profits helped the country offset the impact of financial sanctions. main.
Ordinance banning oil from Putin presented as a direct response to the “unfriendly acts and contrary to international law by the United States and foreign nations and international organizations joining them”.
This ban will halt the sale of crude oil to participating countries with price ceilings from February 1 to July 1, 2023. The ban is separate for refined oil products such as gasoline and diesel. shall come into force on a date fixed by the government. Putin will have the right to reject measures in exceptional circumstances.
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.
Promote the peace plan
Putin has repeatedly spoken of his desire to negotiate peace in comments in recent days.
But his Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has made it clear that Russia has preconditions, including Ukraine’s recognition of its conquest by force of about a fifth of Ukrainian territory that Russia says it has annexed.
Ukraine says it will never agree to give up the land.
Zelenskyy has been promoting a 10-point peace plan, discussing it with US President Joe Biden and others, and calling on world leaders to hold a Global Peace Summit .
In a late-night speech on Tuesday, Zelenskyy said a meeting of military commanders had “established steps to be taken in the near future”.
“We will continue to prepare Ukraine’s armed forces and security for next year. This will be a decisive year. We understand the risks of winter. We understand what needs to be done in the spring. “, he said.

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