Bakhmut has become a “killing zone” that is likely to pose a major challenge for Russia’s Wagnerian mercenaries trying to continue their attack west, the UK MoD has said. It said that Wagner Group troops had taken control of most of eastern Bakhmut over the past four days, while Ukrainian troops held the west and destroyed key bridges over the Bakhmutka River “which now marks the front line “.
A Ukrainian military spokesman said Saturday that more than 500 Russian soldiers were killed or wounded in Bakhmut within 24 hours. Serhiy Cherevaty said the Russians launched 16 attacks during that period, with 23 clashes taking place in Bakhmut. Yevgeny Prigozhin, head of Russia’s Wagner paramilitary group, said Saturday his troops were near the Bakhmut administrative center.
Three civilians were killed in Russian shelling of Kherson in southern Ukraine on Saturday, and another died in Donetsk, regional officials said. Reuters reported Kherson Oblast Governor Oleksandr Prokudin said three people, including an elderly woman, were also injured. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said the three people killed in Kherson went to a store to buy groceries. “I want to support all of our cities and communities that are facing brutal terrorist attacks,” he said in a regular evening video address.
According to Ukrainian Interior Minister Ihor Klymenko, Russia has bombed Ukraine more than 40,500 times since its invasion in February 2022. The shelling has destroyed more than 152,000 residential buildings since the beginning of the war, Euromaidan Klymenko reported.
Russian missile strikes targeted “critical infrastructure” in Zaporizhia, reports the Kyiv Independent reported. The attacks launched on Saturday are believed to have come from S-300 air defense missiles, the Zaporizhia Oblast Military Administration newspaper reported.
Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba dismissed reports that a “pro-Ukrainian group” carried out a high-profile attack on the Nord Stream pipelines late last year. In an interview with the New Statesman, Kuleba said with former Portuguese Minister Bruno Macaes: “It’s the first time I’ve heard the story of a secretive pro-Ukrainian or Ukrainian group capable of conducting operations of this scale and sophistication .”
Canada has announced an import ban on Russian aluminum and steel products in a bid to deny Moscow the proceeds to fund its war in Ukraine. The imports were worth almost CAD 250 million (USD 180 million/£150 million) in 2021, according to the latest government data.
In an interview published on Sunday, the Ukrainian foreign minister called on Germany to speed up deliveries of ammunition and begin training Ukrainian pilots on Western fighter jets. Dmytro Kuleba told the Bild am Sonntag newspaper that lack of ammunition was the “number one problem” in Ukraine’s attempt to repel the Russian invasion.
Most of Kiev’s power supply has been restored, Ukrainian Officials said after a Russian missile and drone fire targeting critical infrastructure on Thursday. Power has been fully restored in Ukraine’s southern Odessa region, private provider DTEK said, while about 60% of homes in the city of Kharkiv that were taken offline are back online, the Associated Press quoted authorities as saying. Significant damage remained in the Zhytomyr and Kharkiv regions of north-west and north-east Ukraine.
Iran has reached an agreement to buy advanced Su-35 fighter jets from Russia, Iranian state media said on Saturday, expanding a relationship that has seen Iranian-built drones used in Russia’s war against Ukraine. “The Sukhoi-35 fighter jets are technically acceptable to Iran and Iran has signed a purchase agreement,” IRIB quoted the Iranian mission to the United Nations in New York as saying.
The British government has written to Olympic sponsors urging them to put pressure on the International Olympic Committee over its proposal to allow Russians and Belarusians to compete in next year’s Olympics, British media reported on Saturday. The IOC is facing mounting backlash after showing competitors from Russia and its ally Belarus a way to earn Olympic spots through Asian qualifications and compete as neutral athletes in Paris in January, Reuters reported.
Russia has listed the World Wildlife Fund as a foreign agent. According to Russia’s Justice Ministry, the Washington DC-based conservation group “under the guise of protecting nature and the environment … has attempted to influence executive and legislative branch decisions” and “obstructed the implementation of industrial and infrastructure projects.” reports the Associated Press.