Fighting in Ukraine intensifies as Russia seeks to retake lost cities

KYIV/BAKHMUT: Russian forces fired 33 rockets at civilian targets in the Ukrainian city of Kherson in the 24 hours to Wednesday morning, the Ukrainian military said, as fighting intensified as Russia deployed 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 information.
Russian forces abandoned Kherson last month in one of Ukraine’s biggest gains in the 11-month war, but fighting has entered a slow and difficult phase with the arrival of a severe winter.
“There have been very few changes in terms of the front line but the enemy pressure has intensified, both in terms of the number of men and the type and amount of equipment,” the official said. Ukrainian military analyst Oleh Zhdanov.
Zhdanov said the fighting had intensified, with Russia deploying armored vehicles and tanks.
The heaviest fighting took place around the eastern town of Bakhmut, a bombed-out ghost town, which Russia has been trying for months to storm at the cost of huge human lives, and further north in the towns of Svatove and Kreminna, where Ukraine is trying to break through Russian defensive lines.
In Bakhmut, which was home to 70,000 people before the war and is now in ruins, Reuters reporters saw fires burning in a large residential building. Debris littered the streets and the windows of most buildings were blown out.
“Our building is destroyed. There used to be a store in our building, now it’s not there anymore,” said Oleksandr, 85, adding that he was the only remaining resident there.
Nearby Pilaheia, 73, said she had long since become accustomed to the “constant explosions”.
Russian President Vladimir Putin launched his invasion of Ukraine on February 24, calling it a “special military operation” to “denazify” its neighbor, who he said posed a threat to Russia.
Russia set out to subjugate Ukraine within days, but its forces were defeated on the outskirts of the capital, Kyiv, in the spring and forced to withdraw from other areas in the fall.
Putin responded by summoning hundreds of thousands of reservists for the first time since World War II.
Russia hits back at price cap
Putin hit back on Tuesday against a cap on his oil prices imposed by Western countries, saying Russia would ban oil sales to countries that meet the cap imposed on Dec. 5.
The cap, invisible even during the Cold War era between the West and the Soviet Union, is intended to cripple Russia’s military efforts in Ukraine – without disrupting markets by actually shutting off its oil supply.
Under the cap, oil traders who want to retain access to Western financing for such crucial aspects of global shipping as insurance must promise to pay no more than $60 a barrel for Russian maritime oil.
That’s close to the current price of Russian oil, but well below the prices at which Russia has been able to sell it for much of the past year, when windfall energy profits helped it offset the impact of financial sanctions.
The oil ban decree Cheese fries was presented as a direct response to the “hostile and contrary to international law actions of the United States and foreign states and international organizations that join them”.
The ban would end crude oil sales to countries participating in the price cap from February 1 to July 1, 2023. A separate ban on refined petroleum products such as gasoline and diesel would come into effect on a date to be set by the government. Putin would have the power to reverse the measures in specific cases.
Russia is the world’s second-largest oil exporter after Saudi Arabia, and any real disruption to its sales would have a huge impact on global energy supplies.
Promote the peace plan
Putin has repeatedly spoken of a desire for peace talks in comments in recent days.
But its Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has made it clear that Russia has preconditions, including that Ukraine recognize the conquest by force of around a fifth of Ukrainian territory, which Russia says it has annexed.
Ukraine says it would never agree to give up land.
Zelensky promoted a 10-point peace plan, discussed it with US President Joe Biden, among others, and urged world leaders to hold a global peace summit.
In a late-night address on Tuesday, Zelenskyy said a military command meeting had “established the steps to be taken in the near future.”
“We will continue to prepare Ukraine’s armed forces and security for next year. It will be a decisive year. We understand the risks of winter. We understand what needs to be done in the spring,” he said. -he declares.

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