Fighting in Donbass, Ukraine

  • Kyiv hit by Russian drone
  • The main hotspots in Donbass are Soledar and Bakhmut – Zelenskiy
  • Russia says it repulsed Ukraine’s advances in several regions

Kyiv, Oct. 17 (Reuters) – Russian and Ukrainian troops engaged in heavy fighting around two towns in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region, officials said, while Kyiv was hit by a Russian drone earlier on Monday. attack.

Fighting was fierce this weekend in Donetsk and Luhansk (which make up the industrial Donbass) and the southern province of Kherson. They make up three of the four regions Russia declared annexation last month after holding a so-called referendum — votes that Kyiv and Western governments have denounced as illegal and mandatory.

“The main hot spots in the Donbass are Soledar and Bakhmut,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a speech late on Sunday. “There is a very fierce battle going on there.”

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Bakhmut has been a slow-moving target of Russian forces in the region since the capture of two industrial towns, Lysychansk and Sievierodonetsk, in June and July. Soledad is just north of Bachmut.

Russia’s Defense Ministry said on Sunday that its forces had repelled efforts by Ukrainian troops to advance in the Donetsk, Kherson and Nikolayev regions. Russia also said it would continue airstrikes against Ukrainian military and energy targets.

Reuters could not independently verify reports of the fighting.

Beyond the front lines, Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, was attacked by so-called kamikaze drones on Monday, Andriy Yermak, the head of the presidential office, wrote on the Telegram message service.

“The Russians thought it would help them,” Yermak said.

Kyiv Mayor Vitaly Klitschko said on Telegram that there were several explosions in the Shevchenkivsky district of central Kyiv, with a Reuters witness reporting three explosions.

The same area was bombed a week earlier, when Russia ordered its largest aerial attack on a Ukrainian city in retaliation for an explosion on a bridge connecting mainland Russia to Crimea – the peninsula Russia annexed from Ukraine in 2014.

The heaviest fighting took place in northern Bakhmut, Ukrainian military analyst Ole Zhdanov said, claiming that Ukrainian forces had repelled Russian offensives in the towns of Torsk and Spring in the past 24 hours.

“(The Russians) decided to pass Torsk and Spring,” Zhdanov posted online. “Positions in these places often change hands.”

The head of the Russian-backed Donetsk regional government said on Sunday that Ukrainian shelling had damaged administrative buildings in the regional capital.

“It was a direct impact and the building was badly damaged. It was a miracle that no one was killed,” Alexei Kulemzin said while investigating the wreckage, adding that all city services still in operation.

There was no immediate Ukrainian response to the attack on the city of Donetsk, which was annexed by Russian-backed separatists and a swathe of Donbass in 2014.

The pro-Russian military channel Rybar on the telegram said Ukrainian troops had once again shelled the southwestern town of Belgorod near Ukraine.

Air defenses intercepted most of the attacks, but two explosions occurred near the airfield. It said three people were injured.

gunman opened fire

Russian authorities said on Sunday that a criminal investigation had been opened after gunmen shot dead 11 people and wounded 15 at a military training ground in the Belgorod region.

During a training exercise on Saturday, two gunmen opened fire with small arms, targeting people who volunteered to fight in Ukraine, RIA Novosti reported, citing the Defense Ministry. The gunman, described as a “terrorist”, was killed, the RIA said.

The Russian Defense Ministry said the attackers were from a former Soviet republic, without elaborating. Oleksiy Arestovych, a senior Ukrainian official, said the pair, from the mostly Muslim Central Asian republic of Tajikistan, opened fire on others after a dispute over religion.

Reuters could not immediately confirm comments by prominent war commentator Arestovich, nor could it independently verify casualties and other details.

The Belgorod shooting was the latest blow to Russia’s “special military operation” in Ukraine that began on February 2. twenty four.

“The sea is on our side”

Meanwhile, Britain’s military intelligence said Russia faces more serious logistical problems in the south following the damage to road and rail bridges linking mainland Russia and Crimea due to the Oct. 10 attack. 8 explosions.

A spokeswoman for Ukraine’s southern military command said the Russian army was suffering from a severe shortage of equipment due to damaged bridges.

Almost 75 percent of Russian military supplies in southern Ukraine pass through the bridge, Natalia Humeniuk told Ukrainian TV, adding that strong winds also stopped ferries in the region.

“Even the sea is on our side now,” Hummenyuk said.

Russian officials said the explosion was caused by a truck bomb. Putin called the blast a “terrorist attack” orchestrated by Ukrainian security services.

Ukraine has not claimed responsibility for the explosion but celebrated it.

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Reporting at the Reuters office; Writing by Himani Sarkar; Editing by Lincoln Feast and Robert Bursell

Our Standard: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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