- Heavy fighting has erupted in both the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
- After 11 people were killed by gunmen, Russia launches a criminal investigation.
- According to Ukraine’s military spokesperson, Russian forces are suffering from severe equipment shortages.
According to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, fierce fighting was taking place between Russian and Ukrainian forces in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine near the towns of Bakhmut and Soledar.
This weekend saw particularly heavy fighting in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, which comprise the larger industrial Donbas, and the strategically important Kherson province in the south. They constitute three of the four provinces annexed by Putin last month, moves that Ukraine and its Western allies have condemned as illegal.
Bakhmut has been a target for Russia’s armed forces as they slowly advance through the area since capturing the important industrial towns of Lysychansk and Sievierodonetsk in June and July. Soledar is located to the north of Bakhmut.
Zelenskiy stated in his nightly video address that Soledar and Bakhmut were the main flashpoints in Donbas.
According to Oleh Zhdanov, a Ukrainian military analyst, Ukrainian forces had repelled Russian advances on the towns of Torske and Sprine the day before. He claimed that the most intense fighting was taking place north of Bakhmut.
Zhdanov stated on his website that “(the Russians) have decided to move through Torske and Sprine,” and that “our command is diverting reinforcements, men, and artillery there to counter Russian superiority in those areas because positions there are frequently changing hands.”
According to the Russian defence ministry, Russian forces repelled attempts by Ukrainian forces to advance in the Donetsk, Kherson, and Mykolaiv regions, suffering “significant losses.”
In addition, Russia stated that it would continue to launch airstrikes against Ukrainian military and energy targets using long-range, precision-guided weapons.
According to Rybar, a pro-Russian military channel on Telegram, a town in southern Russia called Belgorod is used as a staging area for Russian forces.
Anti-aircraft units intercepted the majority of the attacks, but two explosions occurred near the airport. It was reported that three people were hurt.
The head of the Russian-backed administration in the Donetsk region said on Sunday that Ukrainian forces had shelled the administration building in Donetsk, the region’s capital.
While surveying the devastation, Alexei Kulemzin stated, “It was a direct hit, the building was severely damaged, and it’s a miracle no one was killed; however, all city services remain operational.
Ukraine did not immediately respond to the attack on Donetsk, which, along with portions of the Donbas, was annexed by separatists with Russian support in 2014.
Gunmen Open Fire
On Sunday, Russian authorities announced the launch of a criminal investigation into the shooting deaths of 11 people and injuries to 15 others at a military training facility near the Ukrainian border.
According to the Russian defence ministry and the Russian news agency RIA, two gunmen opened fire on volunteers for the Ukrainian war on Saturday while they were participating in a firearms training exercise; the gunmen, who were killed, were described as “terrorists” by RIA.
The incident in the southwest Belgorod region was the most recent setback for Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “special military operation” in Ukraine, occurring a week after an explosion destroyed a bridge connecting Crimea, which Russia annexed from Ukraine in 2014, to the Russian mainland.
The Russian defence ministry stated that the attackers were from a former Soviet republic, while Oleksiy Arestovych, a senior Ukrainian official, claimed that the two men were from Tajikistan, a predominantly Muslim country in Central Asia, and that they opened fire on the others after a religious dispute.
Reuters was unable to independently and immediately confirm Arestovych’s statements, as well as the number of casualties and other information.
Two witnesses later told Reuters that they had seen Russian air defence systems thwarting airstrikes in Belgorod.
The Sea Is On Our Side
The damage done to the Crimea Bridge over the weekend, according to a spokeswoman for Ukraine’s Southern Military Command, has resulted in severe equipment and ammunition shortages for Russian forces.
According to Ukrainian television’s Natalia Humeniuk, “almost 75% (of Russian military supplies in southern Ukraine) came across that bridge,” and strong winds have now halted ferries in the region.
Humeniuk stated, “Even the sea is now on our side.
In retaliation, Putin launched the largest aerial offensive against Ukrainian cities, including the capital Kyiv, since Russia’s invasion began on February 24. Putin blamed the bridge explosion on Ukrainian security forces.