UKRAINE/ RUSSIA: Russian forces remain persistent in their attempts to capture the bombed-out eastern Ukrainian towns of Avdiivka and Bakhmut, but they are making no headway, said Ukraine’s military, as a Russian-installed official claimed to the contrary.
In a statement released Tuesday night, the Ukrainian Armed Forces General Staff said that Russian attacks continued to focus on these two towns and other settlements in the industrial Donetsk area.
“They just want to wear out our troops by attacking them over and over again,” Serhiy Cherevatyi, a spokesman for the military’s eastern group, said on national TV, citing 70 shellings in Bakhmut alone.
The military said that a lot of Russian soldiers were dying in battle while Ukrainian soldiers kept pushing back the attacks. Russian forces’ effort to encircle Avdiivka, according to the British defence ministry, had made only “marginal progress” and suffered significant losses in armoured vehicles and tanks.
The Russian-appointed leader of the part of Donetsk under Moscow’s control, Denis Pushilin, said that most Ukrainian forces had left a metals factory in western Bakhmut and that Russian forces were moving in.
According to a report by the Russian news agency RIA on Wednesday, which cited an unnamed source, Moscow had sent hundreds of new and refurbished battle tanks to the conflict zone as advanced Western battle tanks started to arrive in Ukraine ahead of a planned counteroffensive.
Zelenskiy visits two towns in Ukraine
Volodymyr Zelenskiy, the president of Ukraine, paid a tour of the trenches and two northern towns on Tuesday. In his nightly video address, Zelenskiy brought up the international reaction to Russia’s invasion of his nation in February 2022, saying it “reminds the world that Russian aggression could be ended considerably more quickly than is sometimes said.”
Away from the front lines of the biggest land battle in Europe since World War II, Russia’s ally Belarus said that its decision to host Russian tactical nuclear weapons was a response to Western sanctions and what it said was a military buildup by NATO members close to its borders.
Joe Biden, the US president, hinted he would be troubled by the action. However, the United States stated on Tuesday that it had not observed any signs that Russia was getting closer to using tactical nuclear weapons in Ukraine.
Another possible flashpoint is the nuclear power plant at Zaporizhzhia, which is currently under Russian occupation in southern Ukraine. Rafael Grossi, the head of the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog, has said that the situation at the facility is extremely dangerous and that he plans to visit it on Wednesday.
In an interview, he said that he was still working on negotiating a deal to safeguard the biggest nuclear power plant in Europe. Kyiv and Moscow have blamed each other for shelling the location.
Moscow launched what it termed a “special military operation” in its pro-Western neighbour, Ukraine, to lessen a threat to its own security, which resulted in the deaths of thousands of soldiers on both sides, tens of thousands of civilians, and the displacement of millions.
The U.S. and other allies of Ukraine have contributed weapons and money to Kyiv, and they have described the invasion as an imperial-style Russian land grab.
On the diplomatic front, a spokesperson for the U.S. State Department said that Washington supported Kyiv’s efforts to hold Russia responsible for the invasion by backing the creation of a special court for the crime of “aggression” against Ukraine.
The deputy prime minister of Ukraine, Iryna Vereshchuk, asked Russians not to adopt children she said had been “stolen” in Ukraine and sent back to Russia, which could be a war crime.
The programme that Russia has used to bring thousands of Ukrainian children to Russia is not secret; instead, it is presented as a humanitarian effort to safeguard orphans and young children who have been abandoned in the conflict zone.
On Tuesday, the International Olympic Committee said that Belarusian and Russian athletes should gradually go back to being neutral. This was against the wishes of both Ukraine and Russia’s Olympic chief, who both thought the move was wrong.