Russia intensifies attacks on Kherson in southern Ukraine and Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine

KIEV/BAkhmut, Ukraine—More than six weeks after the city of Kherson was recaptured by Ukrainian forces, Russian forces have stepped up their mortar and artillery attacks while mounting pressure along their eastern front. It’s missing, the Ukrainian military said Wednesday.

Russia shelled more than 25 settlements around Kherson and Zaporizhia, causing civilian casualties and damaging civilian infrastructure in the city of Kherson and the region, the Ukrainian Armed Forces Chief of Staff said in a statement. It said many Russian troops had left their garrisons around Zaporizhia.

Reuters was unable to confirm the battlefield report.

In his nightly video address, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky urged people to hug their loved ones, thank their friends, support their colleagues, thank their parents and celebrate more with their children.

“We’ve endured terrible months, but we haven’t lost our humanity.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered his troops to invade Ukraine in late February, calling it a “special military operation” to demilitarize the neighboring country and posing a threat to Russia. Ukraine and its Western allies accuse Russia of imperialist land grabbing.

Ten months of war have killed tens of thousands of Ukrainian civilians and military personnel on both sides, devastated Ukrainian cities and towns, and displaced millions of people from their homes. It is also disrupting the global economy and driving up energy and food prices.

eastern front

Heavy fighting also continues around the now largely abandoned Ukrainian city of Bakhmut in the eastern Donetsk region, where Ukrainian forces are trying to break through Russian defenses, and around the cities of Svatove and Kreminna in the Luhansk region to the north. rice field. line.

The UK Ministry of Defense said Russia has likely reinforced the front-line Kreminna district. This is because of its logistical importance to Moscow, which has become relatively vulnerable after Ukraine’s expansion further west.

There is still no prospect of negotiations to end the war.

Zelensky is pushing a 10-point peace plan that assumes Russia will fully respect Ukraine’s territorial integrity and withdraw all its troops.

However, the Kremlin rejected the plan, reiterating its position that the Kyiv government must accept Russia’s annexation of four regions of Ukraine (Luhansk and Donetsk in the east, and Kherson and Zaporizhia in the south). It was rejected by Ukraine and most other countries.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: “There can be no Ukrainian peace plan that does not take into account today’s realities regarding Russian territory, such as the entry of four regions into Russia.”

Mr Zelensky spoke to parliament to maintain unity and praised Ukrainians for helping the West “get back to itself”.

“The colors of our nation today are the international symbol of courage and fortitude throughout the world,” he said in a closed-door 45-minute speech.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Russia hoped to resolve the situation in Ukraine as soon as possible, prioritizing the protection of civilians and the lives of its soldiers, according to TASS news agency.

Lavrov said Russia would strengthen its military and technological capabilities in Ukraine. He said Moscow’s mobilized troops were undergoing “serious training” and while many of them were now on the ground, most were not yet on the front lines.