Local officials announced that several Ukrainian areas were hit by a barrage of Russian missiles in the early hours of Thursday, including the port of Odessa on the Black Sea and the city of Kharkiv, leading to power outages in multiple areas.
Maxim Martyniuk, governor of Odessa, announced via Telegram that a missile attack targeted a power facility in the coastal city, leading to a power outage and causing damage to residential areas. However, there have been no reports of deaths or injuries. Oleh Synyehubov, governor of the Kharkiv region, explained that the city and region were hit by 15 air strikes targeting infrastructure. There are also reports of other strikes in the city of Dnipro and other areas of the country.
This comes amid a power outage at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant in Ukraine, caused by the Russian attack, according to a statement by the Ukrainian nuclear operator on Thursday, adding that they are currently working on diesel generators. In a statement, the Energoatom company indicated that “the last communication link between the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant and the Ukrainian power grid was cut off due to missile strikes.”
The Ukrainian army announced late on Wednesday that it had managed to repel the intense Russian attacks on the city of Bachmut, despite Russia’s announcement that it had taken control of the eastern half of it.
As one of the bloodiest battles in the ongoing war, the Ukrainian defenders remained steadfast in Bakhmut, which appeared to be preparing for a tactical withdrawal last week.
The General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces said on Facebook that “the enemy continued its attacks and there is no indication of stopping the assault on the city of Bakhmut”. They added, “our defenders repelled the attacks on Bakhmut and the surrounding areas.”
Ukrainian military and political leaders are now talking about holding positions and inflicting the highest possible number of Russian casualties to undermine their fighting ability.
And President Volodymyr Zelensky said in his recorded speech at night about the battle for Bakhmut and the surrounding Donbass region, “This is our top priority.”
And Yevgeny Prigozhin, the head of the Russian private security group “Wagner”, said that his fighters had taken control of the eastern part of Bachmut. If true, Russian forces will control nearly half of the city in their hard-fought quest for their first major victory in several months.
And Brigugin, the head of the Russian private security group “Wagner,” stated on Telegram: “Everything east of the Bakmutka River is completely under Wagner’s control.” The Bakmutka River divides the city of Bakhmut, located on the edge of the Ukrainian Donetsk region, which is mostly occupied by Russia, and runs through the western side of the city.
In a related development, Jens Stoltenberg, the Secretary-General of NATO, said before a meeting of EU defense ministers in Stockholm that Russia is sending more forces into the battle. He added, “They have suffered significant losses, but at the same time, we cannot rule out the possibility that Bakhmut may eventually fall in the coming days.” He continued that this would not necessarily be a turning point in the war, but it showed that “we should not underestimate Russia.”
The European Union defense ministers have agreed to accelerate the delivery of artillery shells and purchase more shells to help the Ukrainian army, which is consuming shells faster than its allies can manufacture them. Under the plan, European Union countries will receive financial incentives worth €1 billion to send more artillery shells to Kyiv, while another €1 billion will fund joint purchases of new shells.
Russia has claimed to have annexed nearly 20% of Ukraine’s territory. It says that taking control of Bachmut would be a step towards seizing the entire industrial Donbas region on its borders. Western analysts say that Bachmut has little strategic value, although its seizure would give a boost to Russian President Vladimir Putin and his army following a series of setbacks in what they call their “special military operation”.