According to Russia, it has launched an offensive in the Luhansk and Donetsk regions of eastern Ukraine. “In the Donetsk region, Russian units continued their attacks, expelling the enemy from their fortified positions,” army spokesman Igor Konashenkov said on Saturday. Power was cut off from the port city of Odessa after the overnight drone strikes. It seems that the occupation administration in Chersonesos began to withdraw the Ukrainian currency.
It has been reported for weeks that the Ukrainian army is in a defensive position in the Donetsk region, trying to maintain its defense lines in front of the industrial city of Donetsk and east of the Sloviansk-Kramatorsk region. Fighting takes place around the small town of Bashmut in particular.
According to Russian information, the city of Donetsk was repeatedly fired upon by Ukrainian forces with rocket launchers on Saturday. The Russian state news agency Tass reported that the bus station in the city center and a school were hit among other things. No information was provided about the possible victims of these attacks.
In the north, after the Russian forces were driven out of the Kharkiv region, the Ukrainians still had the initiative. Here the two sides report mutual assaults on opposing positions. Observers also reported that the Russian forces set up fortifications in the area, 60 kilometers long, up to the borders of the Russian state.
According to military information, anti-aircraft defenses were activated, on Saturday evening, in the Ukrainian regions occupied by Russian forces. There have been reports of air defense use from both Simferopol in Crimea and Melitopol in southeastern Ukraine, according to Russia’s state news agency TASS. Residents were asked to remain calm.
According to initial reports, at least two people were killed and two wounded in an attack by Ukrainian artillery on the city of Melitopol in southeastern Ukraine, which was occupied by Russian forces. As the representative of the occupation administration, Vladimir Rogov, told TASS, among other things, a restaurant was hit in the attack. According to his account, several shells were fired at the city from an American “Himar” missile launcher.
After the recent Russian drone strikes on Odessa, the power supply has largely collapsed. President Volodymyr Zelensky reported in his daily video message that more than 1.5 million people in the southern Ukrainian port city – but also in other towns and villages – are currently without electricity. The deputy head of Ukraine’s presidential office, Kyrylo Tymoshenko, said on the Telegram messenger that only facilities such as hospitals and maternity wards still had electricity. The situation is “difficult, but under control”. According to the regional administration, it should take several weeks to repair the damage to the power grid. Residents have been advised to leave the city temporarily if possible. According to the district governor Maxim Marchenko, almost all districts and municipalities in the region are without electricity.
According to the Ukrainian military, Russia attacked Odessa on Saturday night with several Iranian-made fighter jets. 10 out of 15 drones were shot down by air defense. For weeks, the Russian military has been targeting Ukraine’s energy infrastructure with missiles and drones. The goal is to stress the population this winter.
Meanwhile, the administration installed by Russia in the occupied regions of Chersonesos, according to its own statements, began to withdraw the Ukrainian hryvnia. The occupation administration announced that it would be exchanged for the Russian ruble. From January 1, only rubles should be in circulation. In a video posted by the administration on Telegram, the head of the local branch of the Russian Central Bank, Andrei Bertonkin, said this was for the convenience of residents and the region’s smooth integration into the Russian Federation.
This week local banks began collecting the hryvnia. Russian forces controlled most of the Kherson region at the start of their invasion, which began on 24 February. In September, the region was annexed, which is not recognized internationally. Russian forces later had to withdraw from the regional capital of the same name, but still controlled most of the region.
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