January 31, 2023

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War on Ukraine: Heavy fighting in Donbass

Status: 11.12.2022 8:38 am

Heavy fighting is again taking place between Ukrainian and Russian troops in the Donbass region of eastern Ukraine. The government in Moscow reports that the Ukrainian military is striking back with attacks on Donetsk and Melitopol.

Ukraine and Russia report heavy fighting over the Donbas region in the east of the country. “Donbass is the main frontline of Ukraine’s struggle for independence,” said Serhii Serevaty, spokesman for the Eastern Military Group of the Ukrainian Armed Forces. Russian troops advanced around the towns of Pakmut and Avdiyvka, while Ukrainian troops shelled several Russian-held towns. The Russian army apparently follows a new tactic: instead of large-scale attacks, small units such as the “Wagner” mercenary unit are now used. Moscow relies primarily on barrel and rocket artillery. Ukrainian armed forces repulsed attacks in Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

Russia earlier announced a victory in Donbass: “In the Donetsk region, Russian units continued their attacks and drove the enemy out of their fortified positions,” said military spokesman Igor Konashenkov. Positions were also captured in the north between the small towns of Creminna and Lyman.

Moscow: Ukrainian attacks on Donetsk and Melitopol

According to Russian officials, Ukrainian forces retaliated with rocket launchers near Donetsk. When the city was shelled, a bus station in the center and a school were also hit, Russian state agency TASS reported. Reports have been circulating for weeks that the Ukrainian army is on the defensive in the Donetsk region, trying to hold its defense lines in front of the industrial city and east of the city of Sloviansk-Kramadorsk.

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Rocket attacks were reported from the Russian-occupied city of Melitopol further south on Saturday evening. According to pro-Russian sources, two people died and ten were injured. The exiled mayor of Melitopol reported that a disused church used by the Russians as a meeting place had been attacked and spoke of numerous deaths. The Ukrainian military did not immediately comment on the incident. The Central Command of the Ukrainian Armed Forces previously claimed to have launched an attack on Melitopol.

In addition, according to information from Moscow, air defense in Crimea was intensive. Residents of areas occupied by Russian troops reported numerous explosions in the sky on social media, including in Simferopol. Nothing was initially known about the nature of the potential attack or its consequences.

Conflicting parties as a source

Information on combat, shelling and casualties provided by the official organizations of the Russian and Ukrainian conflict parties cannot be directly verified by an independent organization in the current situation.

Zelenskyj: Bakhmut was completely destroyed

Russian attacks are particularly concentrated on the city of Pakmut in Donetsk Oblast. Ukraine reported that more than 20 houses were set on fire there. The invading troops gather troops and war equipment around Bagmouth and attempt to encircle the city. She was fired with rockets for six months.

After the withdrawal of Russian troops from Cherson in the south, the fighting around Bagmut intensified, as Russia looked for a return to visible victory after defeats in the autumn. Capturing Pakmut would cut Ukrainian supply lines and allow the Russians to advance towards Kramatorsk and Sloviansk.

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In his nightly message to his compatriots, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky complained that Bagmut had been completely destroyed in the latest fighting: “The occupiers have literally destroyed Bagmut, another city in the Donbass, and the Russian army has turned into charred ruins.” “Pakmut, Soledar, Marzinga, Kremmina – for a long time there will be no living space in these areas.”

Dark green: the progress of the Russian army. Hatched: Territories annexed by Russia.

Image: ISW/9.12.2022

New Russian attacks on energy infrastructure

Meanwhile, Russia continued its airstrikes on the Ukrainian energy grid: Cherson, Donetsk and Kharkiv regions were said to be particularly affected by power outages. Attacks on infrastructure were reported from the Odesa region during the night from Friday to Saturday.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Denis Shmihal said citizens should expect power cuts throughout the winter. Although the situation is now under control, there are still shortfalls in power supply due to the damage. “All the thermal and hydropower plants in the country have been damaged.” Additionally, about 40 percent of high-voltage network systems were destroyed to varying degrees.

“Therefore, constraints on power supply are still significant in most areas,” he summarized. “Let’s face it, we will continue to live in low electricity consumption conditions this winter,” he said, citing a Union government agency.

Critical infrastructure has priority

Priorities must be set, explains Schmihal. Priority is given to critical infrastructure such as hospitals and water and heat distribution, followed by the military-industrial complex. Only the third place has critical distribution items such as bakeries or dairies. Electricity supply to the public is only at the fourth position.

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