Ukraine resists some attacks, but steel mills are under attack

Ukrainian forces claimed Thursday that they had repelled Russian aggressions in the east, and seized some territory.

Ukraine resists some attacks, but steel mills are under attack

Ukrainian forces claimed Thursday that they had repelled Russian aggressions in the east, and seized some territory. Moscow attempted to block the flow of Western weapons into Ukraine by bombarding railway stations and other targets.

The Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol, which was the last bastion of Ukrainian resistance in the devastated southern port city, saw heavy fighting. Although a Russian official denied that troops were entering the plant, the commander of the main Ukrainian unit within said that Russian soldiers had entered the mill's territory.

"With the assistance of aircraft, enemy resumed an offensive to take control of plant," General Staff in Kyiv stated, adding that Russians were "trying destroy Ukrainian units."

The military reported that Ukrainian forces gained some ground on the border of Mykolaiv and Kherson to the west of Mariupol. There, Russian troops were trying to launch a counteroffensive. They also repelled 11 Russian strikes in the Donetsk or Luhansk regions.

According to Ukrainian officials, five people were killed and at most 25 others were wounded by the shelling of several eastern cities in the last 24 hours.

According to the Russian military, it used both air- and sea-launched rockets to eliminate five electric power plants at five stations in Ukraine on Wednesday. Artillery and aircraft also attacked troop strongholds as well as fuel and ammunition depots. Social media videos suggested that a bridge was attacked.

Dmytro Kuleba, the Ukrainian Foreign Minister, accused Russia of using missile terrorism tactics to spread fear in Ukraine.

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zilenskyy responded to strikes in his nightly video address by saying: "All these crimes will be answered, legal and quite practically - on the battlefield."

As Russia prepares for Victory Day, which will be celebrated on May 9, the Soviet Union's defeat in Nazi Germany, the flurry comes as Russia is under pressure. The world is waiting to see if Russian President Vladimir Putin will use this occasion to declare victory in Ukraine and expand the "special military operations."

Putin could declare all-out war and use martial law to mobilize the reservists to compensate for troop losses.

Dmitry Peskov, spokesperson for the Kremlin, dismissed the speculation as "nonsense."

As Russia prepares for Victory Day, which will be celebrated on May 9, the Soviet Union's defeat in Nazi Germany, the flurry comes as Russia is under pressure. The world is waiting to see if Russian President Vladimir Putin will use this occasion to declare victory in Ukraine and expand the "special military operations."

Putin could declare all-out war and use martial law to mobilize the reservists to compensate for troop losses.

Dmitry Peskov, spokesperson for the Kremlin, dismissed the speculation as "nonsense."

In the meantime, Belarus, which Russia used to be a staging area for its invasion, announced Wednesday that it would begin military exercises. According to a top Ukrainian official, the country is ready to respond if Belarus joins in the fighting.

According to the British Defense Ministry, it doesn't anticipate that drills pose a threat to Ukraine. However, Moscow will likely use them to "fix Ukrainian forces in northern Ukraine and prevent them from being committed for the battle for Donbass," Russia's declared war objective.

According to Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov, spokesperson for the Russian Defense Ministry, the attacks on rail infrastructure were intended to disrupt Western weapon delivery. Sergei Shoigu, Defense Minister, complained that the West "stuffs Ukraine with weapons."

Under anonymity, a senior U.S. defense officer spoke out to explain the Pentagon's assessment. He said that although Russia attempted to strike critical infrastructure in Lviv's western region, including railroads, it has had "no appreciable effect" on Ukraine's efforts to resupply its troops. Lviv, near the Polish border has been a key gateway for NATO-supplied arms.

The Ukrainian army's weaponry poured into Ukraine, which helped Russia's initial attempt to seize Kyiv. It seems certain that it will continue to play a key role in the ongoing battle for the Donbas.

Ukraine has asked the West to increase its weapons supply in preparation for the potentially decisive clash.

The U.S. and Europe have tried to punish Moscow by imposing sanctions, in addition to providing weapons to Ukraine. On Wednesday, the EU's top official urged the 27-nation bloc to ban Russian oil imports. This is a vital source of revenue.

Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, told the European Parliament in Strasbourg that she will ensure that Russian oil is phased out in a systematic manner that allows for alternative supply routes. This will minimize the impact on global markets.

The proposal must be approved unanimously by all EU countries. It is likely that it will be fiercely debated. Already, Slovakia and Hungary have stated that they will not participate in any oil sanctions. They might be allowed an exemption.

EU officials are also discussing a possible embargo against Russian natural gas. Already, the bloc approved a ban on coal imports.

Russia's economy relies heavily on natural gas and oil exports.

Mariupol Mayor Vadym Bochenko stated that Russian forces had targeted Azovstal's already destroyed plant with heavy artillery and tanks, warships, and "heavy Bombs that penetrate concrete 3 to 5 metres thick."

He said, "Our brave men are defending the fortress, but that is very difficult."

Ukrainian fighters claimed Tuesday that Russian forces had stormed the plant. The Kremlin refuted this claim. Peskov stated, "There is not an assault."

Denys Prokopenko (commander of the Ukrainian Azov regiment defending the plant) stated in a video that incursions continue "and there are heavy and bloody battles."

He said, "The situation is extremely challenging, but we continue to execute the order to defend,"

Kateryna Prokopenko was his wife and told The Associated Press that they didn't want him to die. They will not surrender. They wait for the bravest nations to evacuate them."

The United Nations announced Wednesday that over 300 civilians had been evacuated from Mariupol and other areas. The refugees arrived in Zaporizhzhia (about 140 miles (230 km) to the northwest), where they received humanitarian aid.

Over the weekend, over 100 people, including 17 children and elderly women, were evacuated from the plant in a ceasefire operation managed by the U.N. However, the attacks on the plant quickly resumed.

Telegram messenger app, the Russian government stated that it would open another evacuation route from the plant at certain hours on Thursday and Saturday. However, there was no confirmation from any other parties. Many previous assurances by the Kremlin were also not confirmed. The Ukrainians blame the Russians for continuing fighting.

Although it was not clear how many Ukrainian fighters were still inside the compound, the Russians have put the figure at around 2,000 over the past few weeks. 500 people were also reported to have been wounded. According to the Ukrainian side, there were still a few hundred civilians.

Mariupol and the Mariupol plant have become symbols of the suffering caused by war. In a two-month-long siege, the Russians have destroyed most of the city, leaving civilians without food, water, or heat.

Falling the city would leave Ukraine without a port vital, but Russia could establish a land corridor to reach the Crimean Peninsula, which it took from Ukraine in 2014. This would allow Russia to free its troops to fight in the Donbas.

___

Anna reported from Zaporizhzhia in Ukraine. This report was contributed by Associated Press journalists Yesica Fisch, Inna Varenytsia, David Keyton in Kyiv and Yuras Karmanau, Lviv, Mstyslav Chernov, Lolita C.Baldor, Washington, and AP staff worldwide.

Yorum yapabilmek için üye girişi yapmanız gerekmektedir.

Üye değilseniz hemen üye olun veya giriş yapın.

NEXT NEWS