In Bakhmut and Kherson, Ukrainian forces advance against Russian fighters


Ukrainian forces continued their advance against the Russian army in the southern Kherson region on Tuesday, pushing back Russian mercenaries from Bakhmut east of Donetsk and gaining new momentum in Luhansk, where they seized a key highway between the cities of Kermina and Svyatovo. .

In a day of heavy fighting and rapid developments in various war zones, the Ukrainians appeared to extend their recent successes in recapturing occupied territory and pushing back Moscow’s forces in areas that President Vladimir Putin claims are now Russian.

Away from the battlefield, the Kremlin continued to make repeated, unsubstantiated claims that Kyiv was preparing to use a “dirty bomb,” a weapon that combines conventional explosives with radioactive material — a charge that was denied by The United States and other Western countries rejected

US officials said Moscow’s claims raise the risk that Russia itself is planning a radio attack, possibly a pretext to justify further escalation of the war amid continuing territorial setbacks.

In a statement on Tuesday, Ukraine’s nuclear energy operator Energoatom issued a similar warning, citing the Russian military’s control of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Enerhodar. “Energuatom assumes that such actions by the occupiers may indicate that they are preparing a terrorist act using nuclear material and radioactive waste stored at the ZNPP site,” the statement said.

Renewed fears of some kind of radio attack added to the ominous sense that Putin’s war in Ukraine is becoming even deadlier and more dangerous as each side seeks to redraw the facts on the ground before winter.

Ukraine is desperately trying to make more territorial gains, while Russia this month began a relentless bombing campaign against Ukraine’s energy system, using missiles and attack drones in an apparent attempt to freeze the country. and darkness and potentially compensation for battlefield losses.

Failures in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine have led to an increase in Russian nuclear threats, echoing Cold War events such as the lesser-known nuclear crisis of 1983. (Video: Joshua Carroll/Washington Post)

As Ukraine’s gains continue, pro-Kremlin military bloggers and analysts confirmed new setbacks for Russian forces on Tuesday, including in Luhansk, Ukraine’s easternmost occupied region, where Russia has its strongest hold.

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“Ukraine’s army has resumed its counterattacks in the direction of Luhansk,” the pro-Russian Vargonzo Project announced in its daily military update.

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Vargonzo said: Russian artillery is actively working on the left bank of the Zerbets River and trying to stop the transfer of reinforcements to the enemy, but the situation is very difficult.

In the Donetsk region, Wagner’s paramilitary forces, controlled by Saint Petersburg businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin, were apparently pushing back from Bakhmut, where the mercenaries had spent weeks pounding the city, making little progress. . Military experts said the capture of Bakhmut had little strategic value, but Prigozhin appeared to see an opportunity to claim a political prize while Russian regular military units lost ground in other war zones.

Ukrainian forces recaptured a concrete factory in the eastern suburbs of Bakhmut, the Washington-based Institute for the Study of War reported on Monday. On Sunday, Prigogine acknowledged the slow pace of Wagner’s efforts, saying the mercenaries were gaining only “100-200 meters a day”.

In a statement published by the press service of the Kettering company, Prigozhin said: “Our units are constantly facing the strongest resistance of the enemy, and I note that the enemy is well prepared, motivated and working with confidence and coordination. ” “It’s not going to stop our fighters from going forward, but I can’t comment on how long it will take.”

In the southern region of Kherson, one of four regions claimed by Moscow, Russian forces appear to be preparing to defend the city of Kherson, amid speculation they are retreating east of the Dnieper River. And they hand over vital lands.

Displaced residents from Russian-occupied Ukraine’s Kherson arrive by bus in Crimea on October 24. (Video: Reuters, Photo: Reuters/Reuters)

In an operational update on Tuesday, Ukraine’s military said Russian forces were establishing “defensive positions” along the east bank of the Dnieper, leaving small passages for a possible retreat from the west bank.

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Speculation is rife as to whether Moscow is preparing to abandon Kherson after Ukrainian forces made a breakthrough in the south.

A famous Russian military blogger, “I do not know all the nuances and plans of the command, but I do not exclude the surrender of Kherson, because from a military point of view defending it now can turn into a failure.” who writes under the name Zapiski Veterana, wrote in a telegram post. “But I think that if a decision is made in Moscow to fight until victory, then there is nothing tragic in the surrender of Kherson because this war is here for a long time.”

Moscow may not have a choice. The Institute of War Studies said: “Russia’s position in Upper Kherson province is most likely untenable.”

Kremlin-based officials have ordered residents to evacuate from the west bank of the Dnieper, while claiming without evidence that Kyiv is preparing an attack on the Kakhovka hydroelectric power station, as well as “dirty bomb” claims.

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The United States, France and Britain have accused Moscow of using the dirty bomb allegations as a pretext to escalate tensions, warning that Putin’s government will face further punitive measures from the West.

On Tuesday, the Kremlin called Washington’s distrust of Russia’s claims an “unauthorized and futile approach.”

After a two-week bombing campaign, in which Moscow systematically targeted energy infrastructure, Kyiv is increasingly worried about civilians enduring the bitter winter. Ukrainian officials have spent the past few weeks pressing European officials for more advanced weaponry, particularly the advanced air defense systems needed to fend off Russian airstrikes.

The country is also facing an immediate cash crisis, with officials questioning how Ukraine will secure the funds necessary to keep services running in the brutal weeks and months ahead. The World Bank forecast in early October showed that Ukraine’s economy will shrink by 35 percent this year.

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On Tuesday, Germany and the European Union hosted a conference in Berlin on reconstruction, though that seemed particularly premature given the Russian attacks that wreak fresh havoc every day.

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has said that Ukraine needs about $38 billion in emergency economic aid for next year alone. But while senior officials regularly trumpet EU support for Ukraine, there are questions about the short- and long-term follow-through.

For example, even as the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, has announced plans to help Ukraine until 2023, EU officials have delayed the delivery of about $9 billion in loans to Kyiv that were approved earlier this year. Jari was committed, they admitted.

Janet L. US Treasury Secretary Yellen has in recent weeks pressed her European counterparts to increase aid to Kyiv, indirectly questioning the decision to offer loans instead of grants.

“We call on our partners and allies to join us in swiftly paying off their existing commitments to Ukraine and stepping up further,” Yellen said this month. In a video speech at the European Council meeting in Brussels last week, Zelenskiy urged European leaders to refrain from quickly providing much-needed economic aid.

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“Thank you for the funding that has already been allocated,” Zelensky said. But a decision has yet to be made on the remaining $6 billion of the package — which is sorely needed this year.

He continued: “It is in your power to reach an agreement in principle today regarding the provision of this aid to our country.”

With the existing needs unmet, some wonder how the EU’s promises of a Marshall Plan-scale effort should be taken seriously. A Q&A released by Germany’s G7 presidency ahead of Tuesday’s conference noted that the event would not include a “commitment section.” Instead, the goal is to “underline that the international community is united and resolute in its support for Ukraine.”

In private conversations, some EU diplomats have questioned whether the EU should allocate resources to rebuilding the country still at war, especially given Europe’s energy and economic crisis.

As von der Leyen spoke in Berlin on Tuesday, the focus in Brussels was very much on trying to find common ground between EU member states on emergency energy measures.


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