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Ukraine: Zelensky on the eastern front, five dead in Russian strikes

Lhe Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky visited the eastern front near Kupiansk on Thursday, which has been threatened for several months by the Russians, whose bombings have killed five civilians in eastern and southern Ukraine.

• Read also: At NATO, Ukraine insists that it “will not give in” to Russia

• Read also: Two women and a girl killed by Russian bombing in northeastern Ukraine

In the 22nd month of a frozen conflict in the south and east after a summer Ukrainian counter-offensive without a major breakthrough, President Zelensky visited a command post near Kupiansk, in the Kharkiv region (north-east).

“I wish you victory, be strong and don’t lose the initiative,” he said during a presentation of decorations to soldiers, according to a video published by the presidency on Telegram.

Mr. Zelensky had already visited this region at the beginning of October, the target of Russian attacks in the summer and where the Ukrainian authorities had then called on the population living nearby to evacuate this sector.

The Russian Defense Ministry, for its part, said Thursday that it had “repulsed two attacks” by the Ukrainian army near the village of Synkivka, less than 10 km from Kupiansk, with the help of artillery and aircraft. fight.

An injured baby

Nighttime Russian bombings left at least two dead and ten injured – including four children – in three towns near the town of Avdiivka (east), which Moscow’s forces have been trying to surround and capture for almost two months. .

In total, six S-300 missiles hit the towns of Pokrovsk, Myrnograd and Novogrodivka, located about 40 km northwest of Avdiïvka, according to the Ukrainian Interior Minister.

In Novogrodivka, the bodies of two men were found under the rubble of a residential building where emergency services were still looking for three other missing people, including a child, emergency services said in a new report.

In Pokrovsk, a six-month-old baby and two boys aged 16 and 13 were injured, the Interior Minister said.

Since mid-October, the industrial town of Avdiïvka has faced incessant attacks from Moscow’s forces, who have been seeking to seize it for years.

Russian forces are located to the east, north and south of the town, very close to Donetsk, the regional capital occupied by Russia since 2014.

In the Avdiivka sector, “the enemy continues its active land infantry attacks (…) In some places, they use armored vehicles,” said Oleksandr Tarnavsky, responsible for the fighting in the east.

In the south, the Russian army continued its bombings, causing victims in particular among the civilian population.

In the Kherson region (south), three people were killed in the morning by artillery fire on the village of Sadové, on the right bank of the Dnieper river, controlled by Ukrainian forces, according to local Ukrainian authorities.

Prisoner exchanges blocked

It is upstream of this locality that the Ukrainian army has been trying for several weeks to gain ground on the left bank of the river, occupied by the Russians in the Kherson region.

The Ukrainian Air Force also declared Thursday morning that it had shot down 14 of the 20 Russian attack drones launched overnight over the southern, eastern and central regions of the country.

According to Oleksandr Tarnavsky, Ukrainian forces repelled more than 20 Russian attacks on several towns and villages around Avdiivka and captured dozens of Russian soldiers in the past month.

On the subject of prisoners of war, the Ukrainian Commissioner for Human Rights on Thursday accused Russia of blocking any exchange between the two countries, while thousands are believed to be detained by each side and the last exchange, according to media reports, dates last August.

“The exchanges are not taking place because Russia does not want them,” Dmytro Loubinets, Commissioner for Human Rights of the Ukrainian Parliament, declared on Telegram.

He indicated in August that Kyiv had managed to recover nearly 2,600 of its prisoners since the start of the Russian invasion in February 2022.

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