Russia steps up attacks on liberated city of Kherson in eastern Ukraine

KYIV/BAKHMUT: Russian forces have intensified their mortar and artillery attacks against the city of Kherson in southern Ukraine on Wednesday, the Ukrainian military said, while exerting constant pressure along the front lines in the eastern regions of the country.
Russia fired 33 missiles from multiple rocket launchers at civilian targets in Kherson in the 24 hours to Wednesday morning, the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine said in its morning report. Russia denies targeting civilians.
Heavy fighting also persisted around the now largely ruined Ukrainian town of Bakhmut in eastern Donetsk province, and to the north around the towns of Svatove and Kreminna in Luhansk province, where forces Ukrainians are trying to break through the Russian defense. lines.
Air raid sirens also sounded across Ukraine on Wednesday morning, officials said. Ukrainian media reported that the nationwide alert may have been declared after Russian planes stationed in Belarus took off. Reuters was unable to immediately verify this information.
The British Ministry of Defense said in its latest update on the military situation in Ukraine that Russia had probably reinforced the Kreminna section on the front line, because it is logistically important for Moscow and has become relatively vulnerable following recent Ukrainian advances further west.
There is still no prospect of talks to end the war, which is now in its eleventh month.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky Vigorously pushing a 10-point peace plan that calls for Russia to fully respect Ukraine’s territorial integrity and withdraw all its troops, something Moscow refuses to consider.
Russian President Vladimir Cheese fries said on Sunday he was open to negotiations, but only on his terms, which include Ukraine’s acceptance of the loss of four regions – Luhansk and Donetsk in the east, and Kherson and Zaporizhzhia in the south. Together they make up about a fifth of Ukraine’s territory.
“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.
Russian forces abandoned the city of Kherson last month in one of the biggest gains of the war for Ukraine. The Kherson region, located at the mouth of the mighty Dnipro River and serving as a gateway to Crimea annexed by Russia, is strategically important.
Kherson residents’ joy over the city’s liberation quickly gave way to fear amid relentless Russian shelling from the east bank of the Dnipro, and many have since fled.
Russian forces shelled the maternity ward of a Kherson hospital, Kyrylo Tymoshenko, Zelenskiy’s deputy chief of staff, said on Telegram. No one was injured and staff and patients were moved to a shelter, he added.
Reuters was unable to immediately verify the report.
A Russian strike left at least 10 dead and 58 injured in Kherson last Saturday, Ukraine said.
In Wednesday’s report, the Ukrainian General Staff also reported new Russian shelling in the Zaporizhzhia region and in the Sumy and Kharkiv regions of northeastern Ukraine, near the Russian border.
Reuters was unable to verify reports from the battlefield.
In Bakhmut, which was home to 70,000 people before the war and is now a bombed-out ghost town, which Russia has been trying for months to storm at the cost of huge lives, Reuters reporters this week saw fires 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.
Putin launched his invasion of Ukraine on February 24, calling it a “special military operation” to demilitarize its neighbor, which 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.
On Tuesday, Putin hit back at a price cap of $60 a barrel on Russian oil imposed on Dec. 5 by Western countries, saying Moscow would now ban oil sales to countries that enforce it.
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.
Putin’s oil ban decree was touted as a direct response to “hostile actions contrary to international law by the United States and foreign states and international organizations that join them.”
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.
In a late-night address Tuesday, Zelenskyy said 2023 would be a breakthrough year. “We understand the risks of winter. We understand what to do in the spring.”


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