Russian forces have unleashed fresh attacks on the eastern Ukrainian towns of Bakhmut and Avdiyivka, backed by formidable artillery fire, Ukraine’s General Staff reported in its morning briefing, as President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said millions of civilians remained in the dark and cold following Moscow’s destruction of power and civilian infrastructure.
Russian troops launched two missile strikes and 44 rocket attacks on Ukrainian positions and populated areas over the past 24 hours, the General Staff said, including 25 settlements around Bakhmut and Avdiyivka, the focal points of Russia’s offensive in Donetsk.
Luhansk and Kharkiv are the other two eastern regions besides Donetsk that have been targeted incessantly by Russian bombardments, it said. In the southern Kherson region, Russians were bombarding populated areas along the right bank of the Dnieper River, the military said.
Ukrainian forces responded with an attack on Russian positions near Novobylozerka, in the Zaporizhzhya region, the military said.
Britain’s Ministry of Defense confirmed in its daily intelligence bulletin that in the last two days, Donetsk and Luhansk had been the areas subjected to the strongest Russian attacks, but with little or no success.
“Over the last 48 hours, fighting has remained focused around the Bakhmut sector of Donetsk Oblast, and near Svatove in Luhansk. Russia continues to initiate frequent small-scale assaults in these areas, although little territory has changed hands,” British intelligence said in its bulletin posted on Twitter.
Zelenskiy told Ukrainians in his regular nightly address that electricity shortages were persisting, with nearly 9 million people left without power.
But he said that thanks to the efforts of Ukrainian engineers and technicians, the number and duration of electricity cuts was slowly going down.
“Of course, shortages persist. Outages continue. As of this evening, about 9 million people are disconnected in various regions of Ukraine. But the number and duration of outages is still gradually decreasing. I thank everyone who ensured this result,” he said.
Speaking about the situation on the front line, Zelenskiy said Bakhmut and Avdiyivka are areas that require maximum strength and concentration.
“The situation there is difficult, painful,” Zelenskiy said. “The occupiers are expending all the resources available to them — and they are considerable resources — to squeeze out at least some advance.”
The last wave of drone attacks on Ukrainian infrastructure took place on the night of December 19, when Russian troops attacked Ukraine with Iranian-made Shahed kamikaze UAVs. The attack was directed against Kyiv and the Kyiv region.
On December 26, Russia’s Defense Ministry claimed that three military personnel were killed by debris from a downed Ukrainian drone that was allegedly shot down and fell over the main base for Moscow’s strategic bombers in Russia’s southwestern Saratov region.
It was the latest attack to expose gaps in Russia’s air defenses.