Ukraine War: Russia escalates conflict as troops attempt to encircle major city of Donetsk | world news

Russia has stepped up its offensive in Ukraine, with officials suggesting Vladimir Putin’s troops have taken control of an area outside the major city of Bakhmut.

According to Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelenskyy, “everything is completely destroyed, there is almost no life left”, in the Donetsk region, which includes the town of Soledar.

“The whole land near Soledar is covered with the corpses of the occupiers and the scars of the strikes,” Mr Zelenskyy said. “This is what madness looks like.”

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Ukraine’s presidential office also said at least four civilians were killed and 30 others injured in Russian shelling between Monday and Tuesday.

In southern Mykolaiv, Governor Vitaliy Kim said Russian troops shelled the port of Ochakiv and surrounding areas overnight Monday-Tuesday, adding that 15 people, including a two-year-old child, were killed. injured.

The Ministry of Defense said that over the past four days, Russian and Wagnerian forces (a group of private mercenaries) have made tactical advances in the small town of Soledar in Donbass and “probably control most of the colony”.

The ministry also said Russia’s Soledar axis is “highly likely” an effort to envelop the eastern city of Bakhmut from the north and to “disrupt Ukrainian lines of communication”.

“Despite increased pressure on Bakhmut, Russia is unlikely to envelop the city anytime soon as Ukrainian forces maintain stable defensive lines in depth and control supply routes.”

Hanna Malyar, deputy defense minister, said Russia had launched “a large number of storm groups” into the battle.

“The enemy is literally advancing on the bodies of its own soldiers and massively using artillery, rocket launchers and mortars, hitting its own troops,” she said.

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Pavlo Kyrylenko, the governor-appointed in Kyiv in the Donetsk region, described the Russian attacks on Soledar and Bakhmut as relentless, adding: “The Russian army is reducing Ukrainian cities to rubble using all sorts of weapons in their tactics of scorched earth.

“Russia is waging a war without rules, resulting in civilian death and suffering.”

Moscow-appointed regional leader Denis Pushili told state television that Russian forces had almost captured Soledar, but the gains came “at a very high price”, adding that the city would create “good prospects” to take control of nearby Bakhmut. and Siversk.

Fighting has been intense in eastern Ukraine for several months, concentrated in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, which Russia claims to control.

These areas constitute the Donbass, an industrial region bordering Russia that Vladimir Putin has identified as essential to his war effort.

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Bakhmut in Donetsk is important to the Kremlin because it would mean he controls Ukraine’s supply lines and clears a path for his forces to move to Kramatorsk and Sloviansk, the main Ukrainian strongholds in Donetsk.

The town went weeks without power or water, like other besieged towns, with the region’s governor estimating that 90% of the town’s pre-war population had fled.

In Russia, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said the army would use its experience in Ukraine to improve its combat training, adding that communication and control systems would be upgraded with artificial intelligence, while that the troops would get better equipment and tactical equipment.

Russian officials say the country is fighting not only Ukraine but also NATO, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov saying members of the bloc “have become a party to the conflict, injecting weapons, technologies and intelligence data in Ukraine”.


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