KYIV/BAKHMUT: Tuesday, a day after Russia’s foreign minister stated that Kyiv must accept Moscow’s demands for an end to the war or face defeat on the battlefield, Russian forces shelled and bombed towns and cities in eastern and southern Ukraine.
The recognition by Ukraine of Russia’s conquest of a fifth of its territory is one of those demands. Armed and supported by NATO allies and the United States, Kyiv has pledged to reclaim all occupied territory and expel all Russian soldiers.
In its most recent report on the military situation in Ukraine, the British defense ministry stated that fighting was particularly intense around the strategically important eastern cities of Bakhmut in the Donetsk province and Svatove further north in the Luhansk province. Russia claims Donetsk and Luhansk, which make up the industrial Donbas, as well as two southern Ukrainian regions.
The British ministry posted a tweet that stated, “Russia continues to initiate frequent small-scale assaults in these areas (of Bakhmut and Svatove), although little territory has changed hands.”
(1/2) Over the last 48 hours, fighting has remained focused around the Bakhmut sector of Donetsk Oblast, and near Svatove in Luhansk. Russia continues to initiate frequent small-scale assaults in these areas, although little territory has changed hands.
— Ministry of Defence 🇬🇧 (@DefenceHQ) December 27, 2022
In Bakhmut, Reuters footage showed a large residential building on fire, with debris all over the streets and most buildings’ windows blown out.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was quoted as saying late on Monday, “Our proposals for the demilitarization and denazification of the territories controlled by the regime, the elimination of threats to Russia’s security emanating from there, including our new lands, are well known to the enemy.”
“The gist is clear: Complete them for your own benefit. Otherwise, the Russian army will decide the issue.”
Volodymyr Zelenskiy, the president of Ukraine, described the situation along the frontline in Donbas as “difficult and painful” in his Monday nightly video message.
Russia is now seeking a battlefield victory by capturing Bakhmut, an industrial city that had a population of 70,000 prior to the war and now has approximately 10,000 residents, most of whom are elderly. This comes after Russia’s “special military operation” suffered a series of defeats.
Russia may be able to advance on Kramatorsk and Sloviansk, two larger cities, if it takes control of the city.
“Our structure is annihilated. Oleksandr, 85, said, “There used to be a shop in our building. Now it’s gone.” He added that he was the only one still living there.
Pilaheia, 73, said she had long been used to the “constant explosions” nearby.
“At this point, you just scratch yourself and don’t even pay attention to where or what is happening. That is where we are now. Yet, I need to carry on with a typical life,” she said, while taking care of the chickens of neighbors who had escaped.
The General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces reported on Tuesday that Ukrainian forces had repelled Russian attacks in the areas of two settlements in Luhansk province and six in Donetsk over the course of the previous 24 hours.
It also reported additional Russian shelling of Kherson, Zaporizhzhia, and Kharkiv settlements in the northeast of Ukraine near the Russian border.
Military analyst Oleh Zhdanov, who is based in Kyiv, also mentioned intense fighting near Kreminna in the Luhansk region and around Bakhmut and Avdiivka in the Donetsk region.
In a video that was shared on social media, Zhdanov stated, “The arc of fire in the Donetsk region continues to burn.”
Zelenskiy said because of assaults on Ukraine’s energy framework almost 9,000,000 individuals were right now without power – equivalent to about a fourth of Ukraine’s populace.
The head of YASNO, which supplies electricity to Kyiv, Sergey Kovalenko, stated late on Monday that while the power situation in the capital has been improving, blackouts will continue.
When President Vladimir Putin ordered the invasion on February 24, he had planned a quick operation to subdue Ukraine. However, Russia has suffered numerous embarrassing defeats on the battlefield.
A Ukrainian-looking drone flew hundreds of kilometers through Russian airspace on Monday, causing a deadly explosion at the main base for Russia’s strategic bombers, the latest attempt to expose flaws in the country’s air defenses.
Three service members were killed when the drone was shot down from Moscow’s Engels air base, the company claimed. Ukraine didn’t say anything, as is customary when it comes to events in Russia.
On December 5, the same base was hit by a suspected drone.
The base, which Kyiv claims Moscow used to attack Ukrainian civilian infrastructure, is hundreds of miles away from the Ukrainian frontier. It serves as the primary airfield for the bombers. As part of Russia’s long-term strategic deterrent, the same planes are also designed to launch nuclear-capable missiles.
A statement from the Russian defense ministry said that no planes were damaged, but accounts on Russian and Ukrainian social media said that several were destroyed. Reuters couldn’t freely check the reports.
Putin reiterated on Sunday that he was willing to negotiate only with Moscow, which Kyiv and the West have rejected. Russia, according to Kyiv and Western nations, is waging a bloody, imperialist land grab.
In addition to providing billions of dollars of assistance to the Ukrainian government, the United States and its allies have imposed severe sanctions on Russia.
During Zelenskiy’s visit to Washington this past week, the United States of America enraged Moscow by announcing a transfer of the Patriot Air Defense System and additional $1.85 billion in military assistance for Ukraine.
Lavrov stated to TASS on Monday, “It is no secret to anyone that the strategic goal of the United States and its NATO allies is to defeat Russia on the battlefield as a mechanism for significantly weakening or even destroying our country.” This statement was made in response to questions about Lavrov’s statements.