Ukraine says latest Russian assault on Bakhmut repelled
Ukraine has repelled a new Russian assault on the eastern town of Bakhmut, its leaders said on Saturday, as it came under a wave of shelling in the disputed Donetsk region.
Meanwhile, authorities have recovered the bodies of two British volunteers, killed trying to help evacuate people from the eastern war zone.
And the southern city of Odessa suffered a massive power outage affecting half a million homes after an accident at a war-damaged electricity substation.
“This week, the Russian occupation forces exerted all their efforts to break through our defense and encircle Bakhmut, and launched a powerful offensive in the Lyman sector,” Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Malyar said.
“But thanks to the resilience of our soldiers, they did not succeed.”
The Ukrainian Border Guard Service said its soldiers stopped the latest attack, killing four and wounding seven of the opposing forces.
Russia unleashed a new wave of shelling on eastern front lines on Saturday morning. Ukrainian officials reported shelling in Chernigiv, Zaporizhzhia, Dnipropetrovsk, Kharkiv Luhansk, Donetsk and Mykolaiv regions.
In his evening address, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky acknowledged that the situation was hardening.
Russia, he said, “was throwing more and more of its forces to break through our defence.”
“It is very difficult now in Bakhmut, Vugledar, Lyman and other areas,” he added, referring to frontline towns in the east of the country.
France, Italy and the United States all promised new arms deliveries to Ukraine on Friday.
Canada shipped the first of four promised Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine on Saturday, Defense Minister Anita Anand said on Twitter.
The German leader said in an interview that there was an agreement that weapons supplied by the West would not be used to attack Russian territory.
“There is consensus on this point,” Chancellor Olaf Scholz told the weekly Bild am Sonntag.
Kyiv, while expressing gratitude for the promised weapons, is already asking for more, including fighter jets.
Officials in Kyiv said on Saturday the bodies of two Britons killed while trying to help people evacuate the eastern war zone were found in a prisoner swap.
Chris Parry, 28, and Andrew Bagshaw, 47, were volunteering in Soledar, Donetsk region of Ukraine, when their vehicle was reportedly hit by a shell.
Their bodies were returned to Ukrainian authorities as part of a larger swap, in which Kyiv took 116 prisoners and Russia 63.
“We managed to return the bodies of the dead foreign volunteers,” Zelensky’s chief of staff Andriy Yermak said, naming them after the two British men.
Concern had grown over their fate after the leader of the Russian mercenary group Wagner, which helped capture Soledar from Ukrainian forces, said on January 11 that the bodies of one of the missing men had been found. over there.
Wagner’s boss, Yevgeny Prigozhin, had also posted photographs online of passports that appeared to belong to Parry and Bagshaw, which he said were found with the bodies.
On Friday, news broke that an American doctor was killed in Bakhmut when his evacuation vehicle was hit by a missile.
Global Outreach Doctors, with whom he worked, said Pete Reed, 33, was a former US Marine Corps rifleman who also worked as a paramedic.
The Odessa power cut affected hundreds of thousands of people.
“As of today, almost 500,000 customers have no electricity,” said Maksym Marchenko of the Odessa regional administration. Energy Minister Herman Galushchenko said this represented “about a third of consumers” there.
“The situation is complex, the scale of the accident is significant,” Prime Minister Denys Shmygal said on the Telegram messaging app.
Ukrenergo, the country’s energy operator, reported an accident at a substation supplying both the city and the Odessa region.
The electricity grid there has been gradually degraded by repeated Russian bombings in recent months, he added: “As a result, the reliability of electricity supply in the region has decreased.”
On Sunday, Russia faces a new round of sanctions, with an embargo on deliveries by boat of its refined petroleum products.
The European Union, the industrialized countries of the Group of Seven and Australia will cap the price of refined petroleum products from Moscow.
Already in December, the EU imposed an embargo on Russian crude oil entering the bloc by sea and – together with its G7 partners – imposed a cap of $60 a barrel on exports of Russian crude to other countries. parts of the world.
The new embargo and price cap starting on Sunday will target Russian refined petroleum products such as gasoline, diesel and heating oil arriving on ships.
The Kremlin has warned that the measures will destabilize world markets.