Day 339 of the Invasion of Ukraine: Heaving Fighting for Vuhledar and Bakhmut
Here are the highlights of events related to the war in Ukraine over the past 24 hours:
Three people were killed in Russian strikes on a residential area in Ukraine
Three people were killed in Russian strikes on a residential area in the city of Konstantinovka in eastern Ukraine, Reuters reported, citing a Telegram message from the governor of the Donetsk region, Pavlo Kirilenko.
Kirilenko said four residential buildings and a hotel were damaged.
Heavy fighting is going on in Ukraine for Vuhledar and Bakhmut
Ukrainian forces continue fighting with Russian troops trying to break through the front lines in the east and northeast before Kyiv receives the tanks promised by its western allies. President Volodymyr Zelensky described the situation on the front as "extremely difficult".
In the past 24 hours, at least 10 people were killed when Russian artillery shelled settlements in the Kherson, Donetsk and Kharkiv regions of Ukraine, local authorities reported. The city of Nikopol on the Dnieper is under fire.
President Volodymyr Zelensky reported heavy fighting for Vuhledar, southwest of the regional capital Donetsk, and Bakhmut, to the northeast, which has been largely destroyed by repeated Russian attacks.
"The situation on the front, and especially in the Donetsk region - near Bakhmut and Vuhledar - remains extremely difficult. The occupiers not only attack our positions - they deliberately and methodically destroy the towns and villages around them. Artillery, aviation, missiles. The Russian army has no shortage of means of destruction. And it can only be stopped by force."
17 billion dollars will be needed by the authorities in Ukraine to restore the damage to the energy system and infrastructure after 4 months of Russian bombing and to demine the liberated territories, said the Prime Minister of the country Denys Shmyhal.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian Ambassador to France Vadym Omelchenko reported that a total of 321 heavy tanks have been promised to Ukraine by several countries. In his words, "delivery conditions are different in each individual case".
French President Emmanuel Macron has said he will continue to "talk to Russia" despite the criticism he has drawn over the matter. He is one of the few Western leaders to remain in contact with Russian President Vladimir Putin after the attack on Ukraine on February 24 last year.
At the same time, he called on China to condemn the "imperialist war" in Ukraine.
Under sanctions, Moscow is seeking to strengthen its ties with Beijing, which has not explicitly condemned the war.
Ukraine has announced that it is forming attack drone attack companies within its armed forces that will be equipped with Starlink satellite communications services. In this way, the country is moving forward with the idea of building an "army of drones", reported Reuters.
The Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Valery Zaluzhny, signed the agreement on the creation of the companies as part of a project that will involve several ministries and agencies, the General Staff of the Ukrainian Forces announced. "The top professionals among the military" have already been selected to lead the teams, each of which will receive drones and ammunition, Starlink terminals and other equipment, the General Staff wrote on Facebook. "We are doing everything we can to provide soldiers with modern technology," the publication said.
Zelensky: The situation at the front is extremely difficult
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that the situation on the front in Ukraine is extremely difficult, especially in the Donetsk region, where Russia is intensifying its offensive, Reuters reported, quoted by BTA.
In his traditional evening statement, Zelensky said that Russian forces were not only storming Ukrainian positions, but were destroying towns and villages around them.
Zelensky also accused the head of the International Olympic Committee Thomas Bach of hypocrisy and invited him to visit the city of Bakhmut, one of the hot spots of the war with Russia, France Press reported.
"I invite Mr. Bach to Bakhmut to see with his own eyes that neutrality does not exist," Zelensky said. In his statement, he also promised to work, as he said, to purge the leadership of the international Olympic structures of hypocrisy.
At least 10 civilians were killed in another Russian shelling in Ukraine yesterday. Another 20 people were injured, the Associated Press reported, citing a statement from the office of the Ukrainian president.
The agency notes that this comes at a time when the country is still recovering from the previous wave of Russian missile strikes and drone attacks.
The governor of eastern Ukraine's Donetsk region, Pavlo Kirilenko, said the Russian military had used phosphorous munitions in shelling the village of Zvanivka, about 20 kilometers from the town of Bakhmut, which has seen fierce fighting in recent months. The shelling also damaged residential blocks and two schools in the nearby town of Ugledar, Kirilenko added.
Russian troops have renewed the shelling of the city of Nikopol on the Dnieper River opposite the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. Damage was caused to residential blocks, gas pipelines, electric transmission lines and a bakery, the local authorities reported.
The governor of Luhansk region, Serhii Gaidai, said that dozens of Russian servicemen were killed and wounded in Ukrainian shelling of two Russian bases in the occupied cities of Kremina and Rubizhne. His claims cannot be confirmed by an independent source, notes the Associated Press, quoted by BTA.
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