Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said his forces would “not budge an inch” in battles over eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk region, while Russian-deployed officials said Ukrainian forces were moving into a southern city with tanks.
he conflict in the Donetsk industrial region is centered around the cities of Bakhmut, Soledar and Avdiivka, which have seen the heaviest fighting since Russian troops invaded Ukraine at the end of February.
“The activity of the occupiers remains at an extremely high level – dozens of attacks every day,” said Zelenskyy late Tuesday evening in his nightly video address.
“They are suffering extraordinarily high casualties. But the order remains the same – to advance to the administrative border of Donetsk region. We will not give up an inch of our country,” he said.
The region is one of four Russia says it annexed in September.
Fighting between the Ukrainian military and Russian proxies has been taking place there since 2014, the same year Russia annexed Crimea to the south.
A Russian-installed mayor in the town of Snihurivka, east of the southern city of Mykolaiv, was quoted by the Russian RIA news agency as saying residents had seen tanks and fierce fighting was taking place.
“They reported during the day and said there were tanks on the road and, according to them, there was heavy fighting on the outskirts,” said Mayor Yuri Barabashov, referring to the residents.
“People saw this equipment moving through the city center streets,” he said.
Kirill Stremousov, deputy head of the Russian-installed administration in the Kherson region, told Telegram that Ukrainian forces tried to advance on three fronts, including Snihurivka.
Vitaly Kim, the Ukrainian governor of Mykolaiv region, apparently citing a wiretapped conversation between Russian soldiers, suggested that Ukrainian forces had already driven the Russians out of the area.
“Russian troops are complaining that they have already been thrown out there,” Kim said in a statement on his Telegram channel.
Reuters was unable to verify the battlefield reports.
There was no official word on the situation in the city from either military officials in Ukraine or Russia.
Ukrainian forces have been on the offensive in recent months, while Russia is regrouping to defend Ukraine’s remaining occupied territories after calling up hundreds of thousands of reservists last month.
Kyiv-based military analyst Oleh Zhdanov said on Tuesday that 21 Russian conscripts surrendered to Ukrainian forces centered around Svatove in the Luhansk region.
“These poor mobilized men — really poor, they had nothing to eat or drink in three days — of course they decided to surrender,” Zhdanov said on his YouTube channel.
Russian news agency TASS reported that Ukrainian forces armed with a US-made HIMARS multiple rocket system fired two rockets at the town of Kadiivka in Lugansk.
Four civilians were killed by rocket fire on Sunday night.
The Ukrainian military gave an update on the situation in the southern Kherson region on Tuesday evening and accused Russian troops of further looting and destruction of infrastructure.
In the city of Kherson, the only regional capital that Russia has captured unscathed since its invasion, a showdown has been looming for weeks.
“A convoy of trucks drove across the dam of the Kakhova hydroelectric power station, loaded with household appliances and building materials,” the military said.
Russian forces dismantled cellphone towers and took equipment, it said, adding that near the town of Beryslav, Russian forces “blew up a power line and took equipment from a solar power plant.”
In the city of Kherson, Russian troops are said to have removed exhibits, furniture and utensils from a museum dedicated to painter Oleksiy Shovkunenko.
Kherson is one of four partially occupied Ukrainian provinces that Russia says it has annexed, and it’s arguably the most important. It controls both the only land route to the Crimean Peninsula and the mouth of the Dnipro, the river bisecting Ukraine.
Zelenskyi also said in his speech that about 4 million people in 14 regions plus the capital Kyiv are without electricity.
Planned hourly power outages would affect the entire country on Wednesday, Ukraine’s power grid operator Ukrenergo said.
Russian forces have been targeting Ukraine’s energy infrastructure with missiles and drones in recent weeks as winter approaches, when average temperatures typically drop to several degrees below zero Celsius (32 Fahrenheit), with lows of minus 20C.
The UN General Assembly is scheduled to vote next week on a draft resolution recognizing that Russia must pay for the repairs to Ukraine of injuries caused by “international wrongdoing”, including all damages.
The text was submitted by Ukraine, Canada, Guatemala and the Netherlands.
Three-fourths of the 193-member General Assembly voted in March to condemn the invasion of Russia and in October to condemn the self-proclaimed annexation of parts of Ukraine.
https://www.independent.ie/world-news/europe/ukraine-promises-not-to-give-up-a-single-centimetre-to-russia-in-east-42130143.html Ukraine promises not to give “an inch” to Russia in the east