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Russian forces making no headway in Bakhmut, Avdiivka: Ukraine

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Russian forces remain relentless in their attempts to capture the bombed-out eastern Ukrainian towns of Bakhmut and Avdiivka but were not making progress, Ukraine’s military said, as a Russian-installed official claimed otherwise.

The two towns along with other communities in the industrial Donetsk region continued to receive the brunt of Russia’s attacks, the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces said in a statement on Tuesday evening.


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“They simply try to exhaust our troops with attack after attack,” Serhiy Cherevatyi, spokesperson for the military’s eastern group, said on national television, reporting 70 shelling incidents in Bakhmut alone.

The military said Ukrainian fighters continued to repel the attacks and Russia was suffering high combat deaths. Britain’s defense ministry said Russian forces had made only “marginal progress” in an attempt to encircle Avdiivka and had lost many armoured vehicles and tanks.

Denis Pushilin, the Russian-installed leader of the part of Donetsk region under Moscow’s control, said however that most Ukrainian forces had pulled back from a metals factory in western Bakhmut and Russian forces were making progress.

Reuters was not able to verify the battlefield accounts.

As advanced Western battle tanks began to arrive in Ukraine ahead of an anticipated counter-offensive, Russian news agency RIA reported on Wednesday, citing an unnamed source, that Moscow had sent hundreds of new and refurbished tanks to the war zone from assembly lines.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy visited two northern towns and trenches near the Russian border on Tuesday. In his nightly video address, Zelenskyy mentioned the international response to Russia’s February 2022 invasion of his country, saying it “reminds the world that Russian aggression could be ended considerably more quickly than is sometimes said.”

Away from the battlefields of the biggest land conflict in Europe since World War Two, Russian ally Belarus said its decision to host Russian tactical nuclear weapons was a response to Western sanctions and what it said was a military build-up by NATO member states near its borders.

US President Joe Biden indicated he would be concerned by the move. But the United States said on Tuesday that it had not seen any indications that Russia was closer to using tactical nuclear weapons in Ukraine.

The Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine is another potential flashpoint. The head of the United Nations nuclear watchdog, Rafael Grossi, is expected to visit the plant on Wednesday, and described the situation there as very dangerous.

He said in an interview with Reuters that his work on forging an agreement to protect Europe’s largest nuclear power station was still alive. Moscow and Kyiv have accused each other of shelling the site.

What Moscow has called a “special military operation” in its pro-Western neighbor to reduce a threat to its own security has killed thousands of troops on both sides, tens of thousands of Ukrainian civilians and displaced millions.

The United States and other allies of Ukraine have provided Kyiv with weapons and money, describing the invasion as an imperial-style land grab by Russia.

Russia said on Tuesday it had shot down a US-supplied GLSDB guided smart bomb fired by Ukrainian forces, the first time Moscow has claimed to have intercepted one of the weapons that could double Ukraine’s battlefield firing range.

On the diplomatic front, a US State Department spokesperson said the United States supported the establishment of a special tribunal on the crime of “aggression” against Ukraine, laying out for the first time how Washington would back Kyiv’s push to hold Russia accountable for the invasion.

Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk urged Russians not to adopt children who she said were “stolen” in Ukraine and deported to Russia, a potential war crime.

“Once again I remind all Russian so-called ‘adoptive parents’ and ‘guardians’: sooner or later you will have to answer,” she said on the Telegram messaging app.

Russia has not concealed a program under which it has brought thousands of Ukrainian children to Russia, but presents it as a humanitarian campaign to protect orphans and children abandoned in the conflict zone.

The International Olympic Committee issued recommendations on Tuesday for the gradual return of Russian and Belarusian athletes as neutrals, despite opposition from Ukraine and Russia’s Olympic chief who have both called the move unacceptable.

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Zelenskyy visits two Ukrainian towns recaptured from Russians

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