Ukrainian forces continue to repel Russian attacks on key town of Bakhmut in Donbass


Ukrainian military forces continued to thwart Russian attempts to break through around the strategic city of Bakhmut to extend control over the Donbass region.

After taking Syevyerodonetsk and Lysychansk a few weeks ago, Russian forces have focused on the key town of Bakhmut.

The town – which had a population of about 70,000 before Russia launched its unprovoked full invasion on February 24 – was bombed again on August 27, as were nearby Soldedar and Zaitseve, according to a Ukrainian military report.

He said Ukraine had halted its advances near two other major cities, Sloviansk and Kramatorsk.

An RFE/RL correspondent from Sloviansk released a video of the aftermath of the nighttime Russian shelling, showing destroyed and charred balconies and shattered windows of a five-storey building. Nearby buildings also suffered damage.

No casualties were reported in the Sloviansk attack, our correspondent reported.

The Ukrainian military also said its forces standing in the coal town of Avdiyivka managed to repel a Russian assault despite enemy artillery and airstrikes.

Near the key southern city of Kherson, occupied by Russian forces since the start of the war, Ukrainian troops said they attacked three Russian command posts and at least two ammunition depots in the area.

The Ukrainian army said its forces had killed 11 Russian soldiers and destroyed 11 rocket launchers, three armored vehicles and a self-propelled howitzer.

Details could not immediately be verified, but Russian-appointed administration chief Volodymyr Leontyev confirmed the Ukrainian attacks to Russian news agencies, saying the town of Nova Kakhovka had been bombed four times.

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Shelling and heavy artillery fire near towns and a town near the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant were also reported, as fears persisted that nearby fighting could damage Russia’s largest nuclear power plant. Europe and cause a radiation leak.

Heavy gunfire overnight left parts of Nikopol without power, regional governor Valentyn Reznichenko said.

Reznichenko said a 67-year-old woman was killed and four people injured by Russian shelling and damaged homes, power lines and gas pipelines.

Rocket fire damaged a dozen residences in Marhanets, according to Yevhen Yevtushenko, the head of the district administration which includes the city of around 45,000 people.

The town of Zaporizhzhya, about 40 kilometers upstream from the nuclear power plant, also came under fire overnight, wounding two people, city council member Anatoliy Kurtev told the AP.

Ukrainian authorities began distributing iodine tablets to residents near the Zaporizhzhya plant to protect them from possible radiation poisoning in the event of a disaster at the facility.

Elsewhere, the Ukrainian mayor of occupied Melitopol said Ukrainian military forces shelled a Russian military base in the city overnight.

Meanwhile, the British Ministry of Defense has questioned Russia’s ability to increase its armed forces or whether such a reinforced force will increase its combat power in Ukraine.

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree last week to increase the size of Russia’s armed forces to 2.04 million from 1.9 million as the war in Ukraine enters its seventh month.

In its regular update on the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Britain’s Ministry of Defense said it was unclear whether this would be achieved by recruiting more volunteers or increasing conscription.

Either way, it probably wouldn’t have a big impact on the war in Ukraine given that “Russia has lost tens of thousands of troops; very few new contract military are being recruited; and conscripts are not technically not obliged to serve outside Russian territory”. the Ministry said on Twitter August 28.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba is due to visit Sweden on August 29 and then travel to the Czech Republic the next day as Kyiv seeks to shore up international support and push for additional sanctions to put pressure on Moscow.

While in Prague, he is due to attend an informal meeting of EU foreign ministers to discuss new sanctions against Russia and a possible EU-wide visa ban for Russian touristsan initiative with growing support from member states such as Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Finland, all of which border Russian territory.

With reports from Reuters and AP

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