Ukrainian Armed Forces have continued to thwart Russian attempts to invade around the strategic city of Bakhmut to extend control of the Donbass region.
After capturing Syevyerodonetsk and Lysychansk weeks ago, Russian forces focused on the key city of Bakhmut.
The town — which had an estimated 70,000 residents before Russia launched its unprovoked full-scale invasion on February 24 — came under fire again on August 27, as did nearby towns of Soldedar and Zaitseve, according to a Ukrainian military report.
It said Ukraine halted the advance near two other major cities, Sloviansk and Kramatorsk.
An RFE/RL correspondent reporting from Sloviansk released video of the aftermath of the night’s Russian shelling, showing destroyed and charred balconies and broken windows of a five-story apartment building. Adjacent buildings were also damaged.
No casualties were reported in the attack on Sloviansk, our correspondent reported.
The Ukrainian military also said its forces, waiting in the coal-mining town of Avdiyivka, managed to repel a Russian attack despite enemy artillery and airstrikes.
Near the key southern city of Kherson, which has been occupied by Russian forces since the beginning of the war, Ukrainian forces said they attacked three Russian command posts and at least two ammunition depots in the area.
The Ukrainian army said its forces killed 11 Russian soldiers and destroyed 11 rocket launchers, three armored vehicles and a self-propelled howitzer.
Details could not be verified immediately, but Russia-appointed administration chief Volodymyr Leontyev confirmed the Ukrainian attacks to Russian news outlets, saying the town of Nova Kakhovka had been shelled four times.
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Shelling and heavy artillery fire near towns and a town near the Russian-held Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant were also reported amid continued fears that fighting nearby could damage Europe’s largest nuclear power plant and cause a radiation leak.
Heavy gunfire during the night left parts of Nikopol without power, regional governor Valentyn Reznichenko said.
Reznichenko said a 67-year-old woman was killed and four people injured by the Russian shelling, and houses, power lines and gas lines were damaged.
According to Yevhen Yevtushenko, the administrative head of the district to which the town of about 45,000 belongs, rocket attacks damaged about a dozen apartments in Marhanets.
The town of Zaporizhzhya, some 40 kilometers upstream from the nuclear power plant, was also shelled during the night, wounding two people, city council member Anatoliy Kurtev told AP.
Ukrainian authorities began distributing iodine tablets to residents near the Zaporizhzhya plant to provide protection against possible radiation poisoning in the event of a disaster at the plant.
Elsewhere, the Ukrainian mayor of occupied Melitopol said Ukrainian military forces shelled a Russian military base in the city overnight.
Meanwhile, the British Ministry of Defense has expressed doubts about how Russia can increase its armed forces or whether such a strengthened force will increase its combat effectiveness in Ukraine.
Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree last week to increase the size of Russia’s armed forces from 1.9 million to 2.04 million as the war in Ukraine enters its seventh month.
In its regular update on the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the UK MoD said it was not clear whether that would be achieved by recruiting more volunteers or by increasing conscription.
Anyhow, it probably wouldn’t have a major impact on the war in Ukraine since “Russia has lost tens of thousands of soldiers, very few new contract soldiers are being recruited, and conscripts are not technically required to serve outside Russian territory.” The Ministry said on Twitter on 08/28
Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba is expected to travel to Sweden on August 29 and to the Czech Republic the next day as Kyiv seeks to solidify international support and urge additional sanctions to pressure Moscow.
During his stay in Prague he will take part in an informal meeting of EU foreign ministers to discuss new sanctions against Russia and a possible EU-wide visa ban for Russian touristsa move that’s garnering growing support from member states like Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Finland, all of which border Russian territory.