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Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Ukraine’s Industrial Donbas Region Embroiled in Intense Fighting

"The key hotspots in Donbas are Soledar and Bakhmut," Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky stated

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UKRAINE: Russian and Ukrainian troops are engaged in intense fighting and physical military confrontation around two towns in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region, while Kyiv was attacked by Russian drones early on Monday.

Fighting was severe this weekend in Donetsk and Luhansk, which collectively form the industrial hub of the Donbas region, and the Kherson province in the south. They constitute three of the four regions that were part of Russia’s “sham” referendums and fell under the “illegal” annexation of the Red forces, according to Kyiv and Western governments, as well as the U.N.

“The key hot spots in Donbas are Soledar and Bakhmut,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in his nightly address on Sunday. “Very heavy fighting is going on there.”

Meanwhile, Russian forces have been sneakily eyeing the Bakhmut region, as they continue to advance slowly through the area since taking the twin industrial towns of Lysychansk and Sievierodonetsk in June and July. Soledar is just north of Bakhmut.

Ukrainian military analyst Oleh Zhdanov suggested the heaviest fighting was occurring north of Bakhmut, asserting that Ukrainian forces had repelled Russian advances on the towns of Torske and Sprine in the past 24 hours.

“(The Russians) have decided to move through Torske and Sprine,” Zhdanov posted online. “Positions in those places are changing hands regularly.”

On Sunday, Russia’s defence ministry said its forces had resisted efforts by Ukrainian troops to advance in the Donetsk, Kherson, and Mykolaiv regions. Russia also said it was continuing air strikes on military and energy targets in Ukraine.

Ukraine’s capital city of Kyiv was also attacked on Monday by supposed kamikaze drones, Andriy Yermak, head of the president’s staff, wrote on the Telegram messaging app. “Russians think it will help them,” Yermak said.

Kyiv’s Mayor, Vitalii Klitschko, said on Telegram that several blasts had rocked the central Shevchenkivskyi district of Kyiv, with a Reuters witness reporting three explosions.

The Russians attacked the region with rockets, Grad multiple rocket launchers, and heavy artillery overnight, according to the head of the Dnipropetrovsk Regional Military Administration.

Moreover, the administration building in the regional capital of Donetsk was partially razed to the ground by Ukrainian shelling, according to the head of the Russian-backed administration operating in the area.

“It was a direct hit. The building is seriously damaged. It is a miracle nobody was killed, “said Alexei Kulemzin, surveying the wreckage, adding that all city services were still working.

There was no immediate comment from Ukraine regarding the attack on Donetsk city, which was annexed by Russian-backed separatists in 2014 along with vast tracts of the Donbas.

Meanwhile, on Sunday, Russian authorities confirmed that a probe had been started after two gunmen opened fire and shot 11 people, wounding 15 others, at a military training camp in the Belgorod region over alleged issues of religious differences, according to a senior Ukrainian official named Oleksiy Arestovych.

Russia’s state media, RIA news agency, citing the defence ministry, referred to the gunmen as “terrorists” who targeted personnel who had volunteered to fight in Ukraine.

The shooting in Belgorod was the latest threat to Russian president Vladimir Putin’s “special military operation” in Ukraine that began on February 24.

Meanwhile, British military intelligence said Russia was facing a lot more logistical issues in the south after the damage to the road-and-rail bridge linking mainland Russia to Crimea caused by the October 18 blast.

The bridge was crucial for the Red Forces since it was the prime route for the safe passage of 75% of Russia’s military supplies and hardware. Following the attack, surveillance has been tightened, leading to greater delays in traffic, resulting in a disrupted flow of military hardware.

“Now even the sea is on our side,” Natalia Humeniuk told Ukrainian television.

Moscow has strongly condemned the attack and blamed Ukraine for it. However, Kyiv has not claimed responsibility for it. Instead, it celebrated it.

Also Read: Elon Musk Assures SpaceX Will Continue Funding Starlink in Ukraine Despite Losing Money



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