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KIEV (Reuters) – At least three people have been killed after a Russian missile destroyed an apartment building in the eastern Ukraine city of Kramatorsk, officials said. West.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky Pledged more anti-corruption measures As authorities continued raids ahead of the EU on Friday metersThis reflects his determination to show that Kyiv can be a trusted custodian of billions of dollars of aid.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said: “We are together to show that the EU stands by Ukraine as it has always done. And we will further deepen our support and cooperation. for,” he tweeted. Arrived In Kyiv on Thursday by train.
Ukraine considers this meeting important to its hopes join the blocka process that will probably take years.
In his evening video address, Zelensky also expressed another grim view of the battlefield situation as Russian forces continue to make incremental gains in the eastern part of the country as the one-year anniversary of the invasion of Moscow approaches on February 24. made an evaluation.
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of KramatorskA Russian Iskander-K tactical missile struck at 9:45 p.m. (1945 GMT) on Wednesday, killing at least three people and wounding 20, police said.
“At least eight apartment buildings were damaged, one of which was completely destroyed,” police said in a Facebook post.
“People may remain under the rubble.”
Kramatorsk is about 55 km (34 mi) northwest of Bakhmut and is currently the main focus of fighting in eastern Ukraine.
“Tough” on the Eastern Front
Determined to advance before Ukraine gets its newly promised Western tanks and armored vehicles, Russia has gained momentum on the battlefield and has suffered from sustained Russian artillery fire for months. Bakhmut announced advances to the north and south.
“The offensive operations of the occupying forces on the eastern front of our country are definitely increasing. The situation is getting tougher,” President Zelensky said in an evening video broadcast.
“The enemy is trying to achieve at least something to show that Russia has a chance on the anniversary of the invasion,” he added.
Bakhmut and 10 surrounding towns and villages were under attack by Russian forces, the Ukrainian military said late Wednesday.
Avdiivka, another major target for Russian forces, the nearby town of Maryinka, and several nearby settlements were also hit, the military added.
Russian forces are pushing to encircle Bakhmut from both the north and south, and are seeking to use their superior forces to cut off supplies to Bakhmut and drive the Ukrainians out, says Yevgen, a Ukrainian military analyst. Mr Dikiy said.
“This is the most difficult scenario for us,” Dikiy told Espreso TV.
“The enemy can use the only resource they have left: men,” he said, describing the landscape northeast of Bahmut “literally covered in corpses.”
Ukraine and its Western allies say Moscow has suffered huge losses around Bakhmut and sent in ill-equipped troops, including thousands of prisoners conscripted as mercenaries.
A former commander of the Russian Wagner mercenary group, who fled to Norway in January, told Reuters: i wanted to apologize She was speaking out to condemn the fighting in Ukraine and to bring perpetrators of atrocities to justice.
“First of all, I want to apologize again and again,” said Andrei Medvedev, 26.
Ukraine has secured weapons pledges from the West offering new capabilities – latest expected this week including rocket This would almost double the range of Ukrainian forces.
“We are focused on providing Ukraine with the capabilities it needs to be effective in the counteroffensive expected next spring,” US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said during a visit to the Philippines on Thursday. said.
The new weapons would put all of Russia’s supply lines in eastern Ukraine and parts of Crimea. within range of the Ukrainian army.
Moscow says such rockets would escalate the conflict, but not change its course.
Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Russian state television on Thursday: “The wider the range of weapons supplied to the Kyiv regime, the more we will have to push them back from the territories that are part of our country.” ‘ said. Moscow claims to have annexed four of her provinces in Ukraine last year, as well as Crimea, which it occupied in 2014.
Russian forces are investigating weaknesses in Ukrainian defenses on the western edge of the Luhansk region, Russian Governor Serhiy Gaidai told Ukrainian television on Thursday.
“The volume of artillery fire has increased, the number of attacks in the direction of Svatove Kreminna has increased … they are piling up bodies on our positions,” Gaidai said.
Reuters was unable to confirm the battlefield report.
Last February, President Vladimir Putin sent troops to Ukraine in a “special military operation” to “disarm” the neighboring country. He now wages the campaign as a fight to defend Russia against aggressive Western powers. Ukraine and the West call it an illegal war to expand Russian territory.
Reported by Reuters Bureau Written by Himani Sarkar and Gareth Jones Editing by Robert Barthel and Peter Graff
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