Ukraine was targeted on Saturday by numerous russian bombing and repulsed a raid on the besieged city of bakhmut (east), the day after the Western powers promised him longer-range weapons to resist the invasion.
“The enemy is gathering in some areas and concentrates its greatest efforts on offensive operations towards Kupiansk, Lyman, Bakhmut, Avdiivka and Novopavlivka”, all in the east, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense indicated.
In his address on Saturday night, the Ukrainian President, Volodimir Zelensky, recognized that the situation was getting complicated. Russia is “pounced more and more on her forces to break through our defense,” the president said.
“It is very delicate right now in Bakhmut, Vugledar, Lyman and other areas,” he added, referring to those cities on the front line of combat in the east of the country.
Avdiivka, on the front line of the Donetsk region, was hit by a “massive” artillery shelling in the morning. Kramatorsk, some 100 km to the north, had been hit overnight by rocket fire, Ukrainian authorities said.
Between Friday and Saturday, only in the southern province of Zaporizhia there were bombardments against “civilian infrastructures” in 26 towns, according to the same sources.
Russian artillery also harassed the city of Kherson, which Russian troops had seized at the start of the war nearly a year ago but was retaken in November by a Ukrainian counteroffensive.
Failed raid on Bakhmut
Ukrainian border guards indicated that they had repulsed “an attack by the invaders” and that they had been forced to withdraw from a suburb of Bakhmut.
The confrontation occurred when an aerial reconnaissance mission detected that “the enemy was preparing to attack” that town that the Ukrainians have been defending tooth and nail for weeks.
“This week, the Russian occupation forces deployed all their efforts to penetrate our defenses and encircle Bakhmut and launched a major offensive in the Lyman sector. But they failed, thanks to the resistance of our soldiers,” said Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar.
The head of the Wagner private military company, Yevgeny Prigozhinindicated this Friday that “in the northern neighborhoods of Artiomovsk (Russian name for Bakhmut) bloody fighting takes place on every street, every house, every floor of the buildings.”
The head of the mercenaries He acknowledged that “the Ukrainian Army does not retreat anywhere” and “fights to the end.”
Some neighborhoods of this city, in which barely 6,500 inhabitants remain out of the 70,000 it had before the war, have been reduced to ruins, AFP reporters verified on Friday.
“No one will hand over Bakhmut […] We will fight as much as we can” to defend that “fortress”, Zelensky had declared on Friday.
Odesa, a port city on the shores of the Black Sea, suffered a blackout that affected 500,000 residents.
The incident was due to a breakdown in a power plant that has recently been bombed several times by Russia, said the head of the regional administration, Maksym Marchenko.
The head of the Ukrainian presidential administration, Andrii Yermak, announced an exchange of 116 Ukrainian prisoners for 63 Russians.
Embargo on Russian oil products
Western powers promised to deliver far-reaching weapons to Ukraine on Friday and the European Union (EU) backed the former Soviet republic’s bid to join the bloc at a summit in kyiv.
The United States announced a new assistance package, worth $2.2 billion in weapons, including rockets that could nearly double the range of Ukrainian artillery.
It is about the Small Bombs Launched from Ground (GLSDB), small-diameter missiles that can fly up to 150 km and thus threaten Russian positions behind the front lines. But “the delivery of the GLSDB will not take place for several months,” said the US Ministry of Defense.
France and Italy will hand over a MAMBA medium-range ground-to-air anti-aircraft defense system to help Ukraine “defend itself against attacks by drones, missiles and Russian planes,” the French Ministry of Defense said.
Canada sent the first of four Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine on Saturday, Defense Minister Anita Anand announced on Twitter, while Portugal said it was willing to send the same type of tank.
The head of the German government, Olaf Scholz, said in an interview on Sunday that there was an agreement according to which Western-supplied weapons would not be used to attack Russian territory.
“There is a consensus on this point,” the chancellor told the German weekly Bild am Sonntag.
kyiv, which welcomes promises of more weapons, is at the same time pushing for more, including fighter jets.
Since the start of the invasion, on February 24, 2022, the Western powers applied economic and financial sanctions against Russia.
A European Union (EU) embargo on Russian refined oil products exported by sea will come into force this Sunday. A measure that, according to Moscow, will have a “negative” impact because it will “imbalance even more” the markets.
(With information from AFP and EFE)
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