KYIV, Ukraine – Ukraine’s military said on Monday that it had repelled more than a dozen Russian attacks in the east and north of the country, including attempts to enter key cities in the eastern industrial heartland. called Donbas.
In its regular Facebook update, the army’s general staff said Russian troops had been trying to advance towards Kramatorsk, one of two major cities in the eastern Donetsk province still under Ukrainian control, but “they’re still under Ukrainian control.” was completely defeated and chaotically retreated to its former position.”
In the same post, the military said that Russian forces had staged an unsuccessful attack on Bakhmut, a strategic town in the Donetsk region whose capture would pave the way for Russia to capture Kramatorsk and the administrative capital of the country. reality of Ukraine, Sloviansk.
The Donetsk region is one of two provinces that make up the Donbas, where fighting has been concentrated in recent months, since Kremlin forces withdrew from the capital, Kyiv.
Russian officials announced a full capture of the Luhansk region, the second of the two, early last month, although their Ukrainian governor has repeatedly stated that Kyiv’s forces are holding out. in a small area near the zone boundary.
In the same update, the military claimed that Russia had tried but failed to break through Ukraine’s defenses in the region north of Kharkiv, home to Ukraine’s second-largest city, but was “responded” harshly and bounced back”.
Meanwhile, the Russian FSB, the main successor to the KGB, says it has prevented a “sabotage and terrorist attack” on an oil pipeline in Russia’s southern Volgograd region, which it dumps blame two Russian citizens for colluding with Ukrainian security forces.
Claims cannot be verified immediately.
In a separate development, Russian and Ukrainian officials made multiple accusations on Monday of renewed shelling of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, with each side accusing the other of being responsible for the attacks. raised fears of a disaster.
The press office of the Kremlin-backed government in Enerhodar, the Russian-controlled city where the plant is located, told Interfax agency that Ukrainian forces were conducting “massive shelling” on the facility as well as on residential and industrial areas of Enerhodar.
According to the statement, the shelling came from nearby Nikopol, a city administered by Ukraine, across from the factory across the Dnieper River.
Mayor Nikopol later said that the Russians had shelled themselves on Enerhodar.
Mayor Yevhen Yevtushenko and other city authorities in Nikopol have repeatedly accused Russian troops stationed at the factory of shelling the city, knowing that Ukrainian forces there would be unlikely to return fire.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has renewed his call for new sanctions against Moscow and its nuclear industry in response to the situation. He described the actions of Russian forces there as “nuclear blackmail” that could provoke bad guys around the world.
As Russian forces continue to sweep their artillery around Ukraine, at least three Ukrainian civilians have been killed and 20 others injured, Ukrainian officials said.
Regional officials said the deaths and 13 injuries were attributed to Russian shelling of towns and villages in the Donetsk region.
In the country’s second largest city of Kharkiv, seven civilians were injured by Russian shelling that hit residential buildings and the area near a bus station. Kharkiv Governor Oleh Synyehubov said the injured included an 80-year-old woman.
Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Lieutenant General Igor Konashenkov said on Monday that Russian warplanes had hit Ukrainian military positions in the southern Kherson region and in the Donetsk region. He added that the Russian air force also attacked a facility in the Kharkiv region, killing at least 100 people and wounding 50 “mercenaries” from Poland and Germany. His claims cannot be independently verified.
Speaking at the opening of an arms exhibition outside Moscow, Russian President Vladimir Putin praised the military, which he called “step by step liberated Donbas”.
He also vowed to expand arms sales to Russia’s allies, whom he praised for their continued unwavering support of Moscow in the face of Western pressure.
For its part, the Ukrainian military claims to have destroyed more than 10 warehouses containing Russian ammunition and military equipment in the past week.
In other developments on Monday:
– Lawyers for American basketball star Brittney Griner have filed an appeal against her nine-year prison sentence in Russia for drug possession, Russian news agencies reported. Griner, center of the Phoenix Mercury and two-time Olympic gold medalist, was sentenced on Aug. 4. She was arrested in February at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport after finding a vape box containing cannabis oil in the box. her luggage.
Ukraine’s parliament has extended martial law and nationwide mobilization for another 90 days.
– Zelenskyy dismissed the heads of three regional branches of Ukraine’s top security agency, the SBU, in the Kyiv, Lviv and Tarnopil regions. Zelenskyy’s office did not specify the reasons behind the move. Last month, he sacked SBU director Ivan Bakanov and a chief prosecutor, saying their departments had too many people facing charges of collaborating with the Russians.
The trial of five European men arrested in eastern Ukraine is underway at a court run by Kremlin-backed separatists, Russian media reported.
Three of the five – a Swede, a Croat and a British – could face the death penalty for being mercenaries and “are undergoing training to take power” under UK law. The self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, unrecognized, belongs to Russia. state media reported.
The other two, both British, face jail terms.
– A British military spy plane violated Russia’s airspace, the Russian Defense Ministry said.
The ministry said in a statement that Russian air defenses in the north-west of the Russian Arctic detected the plane approaching the border from the direction of the Barents Sea. A Russian fighter jet identified the plane as a British Air Force RC-135 and forced it to leave Russian territory, the ministry said.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said Berlin would not support some European countries that have called on the whole EU to stop issuing tourist visas to Russian citizens.
Countries that support such a ban say that Russians cannot go on vacation in Europe while Moscow goes to war in Ukraine. Finland and Denmark want the EU’s decision and some EU countries bordering Russia have stopped issuing visas to Russians.
“This is not the war of the Russian people. It’s (Russian President Vladimir) Putin’s fight and we have to be very clear on that topic,” Scholz said.
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