[キーウ／バフムト（ウクライナ） ２８日 ロイター] – On the 28th, the Russian army carried out an artillery bombardment on Kherson to the south, which was retaken by the Ukrainian army, and intensified its offensive on the eastern front. The prospect of talks to end the war in Ukraine, now in its 11th month, is not yet clear.
According to the Ukrainian military, the Russian military fired 33 rockets at a non-military target in Kherson, a key strategic point in southern Ukraine, in 24 hours until dawn on the 28th. Russian forces said they were shelling a populated area on the right bank of the Dnieper near Kherson, but Russia has denied attacking civilians.
In addition, fierce battles are continuing in the area around Bakhmut in eastern Donetsk Oblast, and in Svatve and Kreminna in Lugansk Oblast north of Bakhmut, and Ukrainian forces are said to be trying to break through the Russian defenses.
Ukrainian officials said a nationwide air raid warning was issued on Saturday morning, but the warning was lifted after no rocket attacks were reported. Information is circulating on SNS (exchange site) that the alarm was triggered by a Russian plane taking off from Belarus. Reuters could not confirm this information.
According to the latest UK analysis of the situation in Ukraine, the Russian military may have attempted to rebuild the Kreminna Front, which had recently been overwhelmed by Ukrainian forces.
A peace plan to end the conflict in Ukraine must take into account the “new reality” that four regions of Ukraine have joined Russia, the Kremlin said on Monday.
Russia annexed Donetsk, Lugansk, Kherson and Zaporozhye into Ukraine in September after a “referendum” denounced by Ukraine and the West. Russia does not fully control any of these four regions.
“There is no Ukrainian peace plan that does not take into account today’s realities regarding Russian territory,” Kremlin spokesman Peskov said. “A plan that doesn’t take into account these realities cannot be peaceful,” he said.
Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov said Russia would resolve the situation in Ukraine as soon as possible, prioritizing the protection of civilians and the lives of its soldiers, according to the TASS news agency. He said he would build up his forces in Ukraine and said most of his “seriously trained” mobilized troops had been deployed there but had not yet deployed to the front lines.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, meanwhile, called Ukraine a “world leader” in a speech to parliament on Wednesday. “Thanks to our unity, we have achieved what hardly anyone else in the world except us believed,” he said.
Zelensky is forcefully pushing a 10-point peace plan that would see Russia fully respect Ukraine’s territorial integrity and withdraw all Russian troops.