Situation in eastern Ukraine is deteriorating, according to Zelenskyy

Ukrainian service members walk on the road towards their base near the front line in the Donetsk region on February 4, 2023, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine. (Photo: Yasuyoshi Chiba/AFP)

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine has warned that the situation on the eastern front line is deteriorating as Russia deploys more and more troops to breach Ukrainian defences.

On Saturday, Zelenskyy made his remarks as shelling continued in the eastern Donetsk region. An accident at a power plant in the southern Odesa district left over 500,000 residents without energy.

"I've repeatedly had to say that the situation at the front is deteriorating, and now it's that time again... In his nightly video address, Zelenskyy stated that the invading force is devoting more and more resources to breaching our defences.

"The situation is currently tough in Bakhmut, Vuhledar, Lyman, and other areas," he stated.

After months of losses, Russian forces have been attempting to secure a decisive combat win by consolidating their hold on the town of Bakhmut and capturing the neighbouring coal-mining city of Vuhledar, also in the eastern area of Donetsk.

Earlier in the day, Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Malyar posted on Telegram that Russian efforts to breach the defences in Bakhmut and Lyman had been unsuccessful.

In October, Lyman, located immediately to the north of Bakhmut, was liberated by Ukrainian forces.

"This week, the Russian occupation forces concentrated their efforts on breaching our defences and encircling Bakhmut and launched a powerful offensive in the Lyman sector," Malyar stated. However, because of the tenacity of our warriors, they were unsuccessful.

According to Ukraine's border guard service, its soldiers killed four and wounded seven adversaries while repelling the current attack.

The Kremlin acknowledged that the combat surrounding Bakhmut had resulted in the loss of Russian life.

Late in January, the independent Russian news source Meduza stated that approximately 40,000 of the 50,000 recruits from the strong Wagner private military group who participated in the campaign were either dead or missing.

Al Jazeera could not independently verify the reports.

Foreign casualties

In the meantime, Ukrainian authorities reported ongoing bombardment in the districts of Chernihiv, Zaporizhia, Dnipropetrovsk, Kharkiv, Luhansk, Donetsk, and Mykolaiv.

In addition, they reported collecting the bodies of two British volunteers who were killed while attempting to evacuate civilians from the eastern warzone. They were identified as 28-year-old Chris Parry and 47-year-old Andrew Bagshaw.

The two perished after a shell struck their vehicle in Soledar, Donetsk. Their remains were delivered to Ukrainian authorities as part of a giant prisoner swap in which Russia received 116 Ukrainian detainees and Ukraine received 63 Russian captives.

"We were able to return the bodies of the deceased foreign volunteers," said Andriy Yermak, chief of staff for Zelenskyy, identifying them as two British guys.

Officials in Odessa stated that a fire sparked by accident at an overloaded substation had knocked out power to the whole southern region.

"As of today, nearly half a million customers are without power," stated Maksym Marchenko of the Odesa regional administration. Energy Minister Herman Halushchenko said that amounted to "approximately one-third of consumers."

Prime Minister Denys Shmygal stated via the messaging app Telegram, "The situation is complicated, and the scope of the accident is significant."

In recent months, Ukrenergo, the country's energy operator, said that persistent Russian shelling had weakened the power grid. As a result, the region's electricity supply has become less reliable.

Canadian Defense Minister Anita Anand announced on Twitter that the first of four promised Leopard 2 tanks were transported to Ukraine on Saturday.

France, Italy, and the United States have all offered new arms shipments to Ukraine, and while Kyiv has expressed gratitude for the pledged arms, it is now demanding more, including fighter jets.

In the meantime, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz stated in an interview that it was agreed that Western-supplied weaponry would not be used to assault Russian territory.

Bundeskanzler Olaf Scholz told the monthly Bild am Sonntag, "There is a consensus on this point."

Publish : 2023-02-05 11:26:00

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