Ukraine – Afp
On Tuesday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky headed to an area close to the battlefront, a short distance from Bakhmut, the main battlefield in the east of the country; Where the Ukrainian army has been fighting the Russians for months.
This visit also came at a time when Russia is accusing its neighbor of escalating drone strikes on airports inside its territory. However, Kiev does not adopt these attacks.
On the other hand, Ukrainians are still suffering from power outages, following a new round of Russian bombings on the country’s energy plants.
Zelenskyj has released three video clips showing him in the Donbass region, which Moscow announced its annexation last September without having full control over.
“the most difficult”
“Eastern Ukraine is the most difficult axis (on the front),” Zelenskyi said, addressing military personnel on Armed Forces Day, adding, “Thank you for your steadfastness.” Later, some of the soldiers were decorated. In another video clip, in front of the entrance to the city of Sloviansk, the Ukrainian president greeted “all those who have sacrificed their lives for Ukraine”.
Not far away, in Donetsk, a pro-Russian stronghold, six civilians have been killed in Ukrainian attacks, local authorities said.
Zelinsky was only 45 kilometers from Bakhmut, which Russian forces have been trying to control since the summer. Moscow has deployed military personnel to this region, as well as the “Wagner” group, which has recruited former prisoners. And Bakhmut’s control, if it happens, will be a success for the Russians.
Since October, the Russian army has intensified attacks on Ukrainian energy plants, leaving most of the civilian population without electricity except for a few hours a day, which also deprives them of water and heating, as winter approaches with temperatures dropping below freezing. Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Tuesday that these “intense attacks” are coming to “reduce Ukraine’s military capability”.
Over the past two days, Moscow has condemned Ukrainian attacks on military airports, including two targeted on Monday, and which are hundreds of kilometers from the border. Kiev has not officially claimed responsibility for these attacks.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov described these attacks as a “risk factor,” adding that “necessary measures will be taken,” without elaborating.
The Russian newspaper Kommersant reported that Ukraine used Soviet Tu-141 drones to target, in particular, the Engels base, which includes strategic bombers and is located 500 kilometers from the nearest Ukrainian border.
An attack on Tuesday morning, also launched by a drone at the Kursk airstrip near the Ukrainian border, caused a fire at a fuel depot.
Putin, for his part, held a meeting of the National Security Council to discuss “internal security” issues, Peskov said, without providing further details.
Kiev and Moscow have carried out a new exchange of prisoners, as announced by the Russian Defense Ministry, noting in a statement that “60 Russian soldiers” were released on Tuesday.