Ukraine’s Interior Minister Ihor Klymenko reported that within a span of 24 hours, Russia conducted extensive bombardments on 118 towns and villages in Ukraine, marking the most intense assault in the year. Klymenko stated that this offensive extended to 10 out of Ukraine’s 27 regions, resulting in casualties and fatalities.
The affected areas primarily lay near the front lines in the eastern and southern regions. Notably, Russia had been focusing a significant portion of its military power on Avdiivka, a strategically vital town in Donetsk’s eastern region, causing substantial destruction. Local leader Vitaliy Barabash reported more than 40 major shelling attacks on the territorial community in a single day, resulting in civilian casualties. Barabash also expressed concerns about Russia’s preparations for a potential third wave of its offensive, emphasizing Russia’s continued reinforcement efforts in the area aimed at encircling and capturing the town.
Ukraine’s armed forces managed to repel twenty attacks in the Avdiivka area alone on that Tuesday. Furthermore, Russia escalated its assaults on the town of Kupyansk in the northeastern Kharkiv region and attempted to impede Ukrainian forces from reclaiming territory around Bakhmut. The attacks weren’t limited to the front lines; a block of flats, shops, and a pharmacy in the southern city of Nikopol, located on the banks of the Dnipro River, were targeted. Similarly, a disused oil refinery in Kremenchuk was set on fire by a Russian drone. This refinery, located in the central Poltava region, had been repeatedly targeted by Russia and came under attack in the early hours of Wednesday.
Ukraine’s counter-offensive has encountered difficulties in regaining territory occupied by Russian forces in the south and east, raising concerns about Western fatigue with the ongoing conflict. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky acknowledged the slow progress and repeatedly urged allies to provide advanced weaponry and maintain unity. Ukraine’s chief military commander, Zaluzhny, warned that the war was transitioning into a more static phase, which would benefit Moscow in rebuilding its military capabilities.
Despite suffering heavy losses, Russia maintained superiority in terms of weaponry, equipment, missiles, and ammunition, as highlighted by Mr. Zaluzhny. He called on Ukraine’s allies to supply warplanes, drones, modern electronic warfare systems, and mine-breaching technology, among other resources.
During a prank call to Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni by Russian pranksters, she expressed the existence of fatigue on all sides involved in the conflict and hinted at the need for a resolution. She mentioned that the Ukrainian counter-offensive was ongoing but had not significantly altered the conflict’s course.
The United States sought congressional approval for a $106 billion aid package for both Ukraine and Israel. US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin stressed that without US support, Vladimir Putin’s Russia would likely succeed in its objectives.
President Zelensky commended the military’s efforts in reducing Russia’s control over the Black Sea, emphasizing the importance of coastal and maritime protection. Recent Ukrainian attacks had led to the evacuation of most of Russia’s Black Sea fleet headquarters in occupied Crimea. Ukraine aimed to establish a safe export corridor for civilian vessels to transport grain along its Black Sea coast, with support from Romania and Turkey. Although some grain shipments had been spared from Russian attacks, Ukrainian officials reported the dropping of “explosive objects” near expected ship routes, yet they assured that the navigational corridor continued to operate under the protection of the defense forces.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu claimed that Ukraine was losing the war despite receiving new weapons from NATO. He asserted that Ukrainian forces were sustaining heavy losses as they attempted to advance into Russian-held areas in Zaporizhzhia, Kherson, and Donetsk, leading to growing personnel demoralization. However, Shoigu provided no evidence to support his claims.
This extensive military campaign by Russia began with a full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 under the leadership of President Vladimir Putin.