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Zelenskyy says Russia has reduced the city of Bakhmut to a “burnt-out ruin”

Russian strikes have turned the eastern Ukrainian town of Bakhmut into “burnt-out ruins,” President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said, while Ukraine’s military has reported missile, rocket and drone strikes in various parts of the country that have killed civilians and destroyed critical infrastructure.

Zelenskyy said on Saturday that the situation “remains very difficult” in several frontline towns in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts in eastern Ukraine.

“Bakhmut, Soledar, Maryinka, Kreminna. For a long time, there is no place left to live on the land of these areas that has not been damaged by shells and fire, ”Zelenskyy said in his late-night video address, naming cities that again found themselves under continuous Russian shelling. .

“The occupiers actually destroyed Bakhmut, another town in Donbas that the Russian army turned into burnt-out ruins,” he said.

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Zelenskyy also said more than 1.5 million people were without power in the southern Ukrainian city of Odessa after a nighttime drone strike.

“After the night attack by Iranian drones, Odessa and other cities and towns in the region are in the dark,” Zelenskyy said.

“As of now, more than one and a half million people in the Odessa region are without electricity.”

Ukrainian service members carry weapons on a dolly through a street in Bakhmut, Ukraine.
Ukrainian service members carry weapons in Bakhmut as Russia’s attack continues in the Donetsk region of Ukraine on December 7, 2022. [Yevhen Titov/Reuters]

Ukraine’s army also reported raids in other provinces on Saturday: Kharkiv and Sumy in the northeast, Dnipropetrovsk in central Ukraine, Zaporizhia in the southeast and Kherson in the south.

About 20 airstrikes and more than 60 rocket attacks hit targets in Ukraine between Friday and Saturday, the General Staff of the Ukrainian army previously reported.

Writing on Telegram, the deputy head of Zelenskyy’s office, Kyrylo Tymoshenko, said two civilians were killed and eight others wounded during dozens of mortar, rocket and artillery attacks over the previous day. Residential areas, a hospital, shops, warehouses and critical infrastructure in the Kherson region were damaged, he said.

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To the west, the overnight drone strike knocked out power across much of Odessa province, including the Black Sea port city of the same name, as several power facilities were knocked out at once, leaving all customers except hospitals stranded. , maternity homes, boiler plants and pumping stations without power. power company DTEK said on Saturday.

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The power department of the Odessa regional administration said Saturday night that full power restoration could take up to three months, urging families whose homes do not have power to leave the region if possible.

‘More active struggle’ – Bakhmut

Ukrainian General Staff spokesman Oleksandr Shtupun said the most active clashes took place in the Bakhmut district, where more than 20 populated places were attacked by Russia.

Russia has been hitting Bakhmut with rockets for more than half a year, but some analysts have questioned Russia’s strategic logic in relentlessly seeking to take Bakhmut and surrounding areas that have also come under heavy shelling in recent weeks, and where Ukrainian officials reported that some of the residents who remained in the area were living in basements.

“The costs associated with six months of brutal, grueling, attrition-based combat around #Bakhmut far outweigh any operational advantage the #Russians may gain from taking Bakhmut,” the Institute for the Study of Warfare, a group of experts in Washington, DC, posted on his Twitter account Thursday.

The Institute also said Russian President Vladimir Putin is attempting to frame the stalled discussions as a way to “separate Ukraine from its Western supporters by portraying Kiev as reluctant to engage or even engage in serious talks” to achieve peace.

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Putin warns that he is preparing for a protracted war in Ukraine and says that Russia is open to peace negotiations.

The Russian Defense Ministry said on Saturday that its troops have also pushed their Donbas offensive in the direction of the Donetsk city of Lyman, which lies 65 kilometers (40 miles) north of Bakhmut.

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