March 4. 2024. 9:54

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Ukraine war: Bakhmut fighting ‘escalates’ amid fresh Russian push

Fighting in the eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut has “escalated”, said Ukrainian deputy defence minister Hanna Malyar as Russian forces attempt to break through Ukrainian defence lines that have largely held firm for the past six months.

Associated Press reported that just west of Bakhmut, shelling and missile strikes hit the Ukrainian-held city of Kostiantynivka on Friday.

The regional prosecutor’s office said eight people were injured and more than a dozen homes damaged or destroyed. Police said Russian forces attacked the town with S-300 missiles and cluster munitions.

The attacks came as an aide to President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said Ukraine had decided to continue fighting in Bakhmut because the battle was pinning down Russia’s best units and degrading them ahead of Ukraine’s planned spring counteroffensive.

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Ukraine war: Bakhmut fighting ‘escalates’ amid fresh Russian push


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Mykhailo Podolyak’s comments to Italy’s La Stampa newspaper were the latest sign of an emphasis by Kyiv this week on continuing to defend the city after months of bloody battle.

Bakhmut has become a “killing zone” that is probably highly challenging for Russia’s Wagner mercenary forces trying to continue their assault westward, the UK Ministry of Defence has said.

Its latest intelligence update said that over the past four days, Wagner Group forces had taken control of most of eastern Bakhmut, while Ukrainian forces held its west and had demolished key bridges over the Bakhmutka River, “which now marks the front line”.

In other developments. most of Kyiv’s power supply had been restored, Ukrainian officials said, after Russia’s latest missile and drone barrage targeting critical infrastructure on Thursday.

Power supplies were fully restored in Ukraine’s southern Odesa region, private provider DTEK said, while about 60 per cent of households in Kharkiv city that were knocked off grid were also back online, authorities said.

Significant damage remained in the Zhytomyr and Kharkiv regions in Ukraine’s northwest and northeast.

Finland’s prime minister, Sanna Marin, made an unannounced visit to Kyiv and met Mr Zelenskiy on Friday. They attended a service at St Michael’s Golden Dome cathedral in memory of Dmytro Kotsiubailo, a well-known Ukrainian military commander.

Thousands of people gathered in Kyiv to attend the funeral of Mr Kotsiubailo. Nicknamed Da Vinci and hailed as a national hero and symbol of resistance, he was killed near Bakhmut on Tuesday, aged 27. – Guardian