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Thursday, February 2, 2023

Russian Commander Says Situation for His Forces ‘Tense’ in Ukraine

Vladimir Rogov said that Ukraine’s forces have ramped up shelling in the region overnight

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UKRAINE: The new commander of Russian forces in Ukraine acknowledged the mounting pressures from Ukrainian offensives to retake southern and eastern regions that Moscow allegedly “annexed” just weeks ago.

Russia’s concerns continued to surge after the Kremlin-installed chief of the strategic southern region of Kherson on Tuesday announced an “organised, gradual displacement” of civilians from four towns on the Dnipro River.

“The situation in the area of the ‘Special Military Operation’ can be described as tense,” Sergei Surovikin, the Russian air force general now commanding Russia’s invasion forces, said in a statement.

On Kherson, Surovikin said, “The situation in this area is difficult. The enemy is deliberately striking infrastructure and residential buildings.”

Owing to Ukraine’s rapid and fairly successful counter-offensive measures, Russian forces in the Kherson region have been driven back by 20–30 km (13–20 miles) in the last few weeks, and are at risk of being pushed back further into the western bank of the 2,200-km-long Dnipro river that bisects Ukraine.

Vladimir Rogov, a member of the Russian-installed council governing Zaporizhzhia, also in the south, said that Ukraine’s forces have ramped up shelling in the region overnight, especially near the Russian-held Enerhodar, where most of the nuclear plant workers live.

He said on the Telegram messaging app on Wednesday that artillery fire had hit the town’s outskirts and there had been 10 strikes around a thermal power station.

Dmytro Orlov, recognised by Ukraine as the mayor of Enerhodar, blamed Russia for the shelling.

In a post on Telegram, he said that the shelling, first of the industrial zone and then of the city itself, began around midnight and did not stop until the morning.

There are reports of damage to one of the substations and the building of the executive committee of the city council.

Meanwhile, the director of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Rafael Grossi, said that he is “soon” to make a comeback to Ukraine amid negotiations to establish a security zone around the highly volatile Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, Europe’s largest nuclear power station, whose workings affect the entirety of Europe and the rest of the world.

The Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant is located in one of the four Ukrainian regions that Russia has proclaimed as annexed but only partly occupies, the other three being Kherson, Donetsk, and Luhansk, all of which form the industrial hub of Donbas.

Russian president Vladimir Putin announced them as full-fledged regions incorporated into Russia after staging what Moscow called ‘referendums’ in September, which Kyiv and Western governments have denounced as “illegal” and “sham”.

Moreover, on Wednesday, Ukraine’s military notified that they had carried out attacks using cruise, aviation, and anti-aircraft guided missiles, including S-300 missiles, across several regions, including Kyiv and Zaporizhzhia, in the last 24 hours.

The Russian military also attacked the Mykolaiv region with Shahed-136 kamikaze drones overnight between October 18 and 19. Air defence forces and the National Guard shot down 13 drones.

“In addition, the occupiers used 14 Iranian-made Shahed-136 unmanned aerial vehicles, 10 of which were shot down,” it said.

Dnipropetrovsk was also targeted during the night, and surrounding areas of Kryvyi Rih and Nikopol districts came under fire.

While residents in Kryvyi Rih witnessed severe damage to energy infrastructure, occupants in the Nikopol district were shelled with Grad and Uragan multiple rocket launchers, as well as heavy artillery.

Both Ukraine and Russia have denied targeting civilians and infrastructure, but Kyiv and even the White House have accused Russia’s forces of committing “war crimes” against humanity.

In other developments, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy will address the summit of EU leaders scheduled for October 20-21, as per reports by a high-ranking source in the European Council.

The summit will focus on the situation in the European energy market, which has developed as a result of Russian aggression against Ukraine.

Since Russian troops poured over the Ukrainian border on Feb. 24, in what Putin termed a “special military operation,” the conflict has settled into a war of attrition fought mainly in the east and south.

Also Read: EU to Impose Sanctions on Iran, Warns More over Ukraine War

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