Ukraine Latest: Zelenskiy Says Russian War Won’t Become WWIII
Ukraine will stop Russian aggression and the conflict won’t turn into World War III, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said.
(Bloomberg) -- Ukraine will stop Russian aggression and the conflict won’t turn into World War III, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said as his forces battled to keep control of Soledar and Bakhmut in the eastern Donetsk region.
In its latest shift of military leadership, Russia named a new commander of its forces in Ukraine.
The Kremlin had positioned the most experienced units from the Wagner military-contracting company near Soledar, according to Ukrainian operational command spokesman Serhiy Cherevatyi.
Poland’s President Andrzej Duda said his nation has decided to provide Ukraine with “a company” of Leopard 2 tanks that will become part of delivery from a coalition of countries.
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Russian troops have not taken control of Soledar despite their claims that the town in the Donetsk region has fallen, analysts at the Washington-based Institute for the Study of War said in a report. Even if Soledar were to be captured, that would not portend an immediate encirclement of Bakhmut, the nearby strategically important city, it added. Ukraine’s General Staff said on Facebook that Russia has taken heavy losses in its offensive. Ukraine launched 13 airstrikes on Russian strongholds and shot down a Russian Ka-52 helicopter and two reconnaissance drones over the past 24-hour period, the General Staff added.
(All times CET)
Russia Names New Commander in Latest Reshuffle (1 a.m.)
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu changed the military leadership in Ukraine, appointing Valery Gerasimov, the chief of the General Staff, as head of the nation’s combined forces.
General Sergei Surovikin, who had held the post since October, will become one of Gerasimov’s deputies, the Defense Ministry said in a statement Wednesday. Russia has seen a number of shuffles in its military leadership since the invasion became bogged down shortly after it began.
Under Surovikin’s command, Russian forces withdrew from Kherson, the only Ukrainian regional center captured by Russia after the Feb. 24 invasion. Russia also unleashed waves of missile attacks targeting Ukraine’s energy infrastructure.
Zelenskiy Rejects Russia’s Claim of Success in Soledar (6:48 p.m.)
“Now the terrorist state and its propagandists are trying to pretend that some part of our city of Soledar, a city that was almost completely destroyed by the occupiers, is allegedly some kind of Russia’s achievement,” the Ukrainian president said in his evening video address.
“But the fighting continues,” he said. “The Donetsk direction is holding out. And we do everything, without stopping for a single day, to strengthen Ukrainian defense. Our potential is growing. And I thank all our partners who help in this.”
Russia Appoints New Commander of Forces in Ukraine (5 p.m.)
Russia’s Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu appointed Valery Gerasimov, the current chief of the general staff, as head of the nation’s combined forces in Ukraine, according to a ministry statement. Sergei Surovikin, who commanded the Russian army in the annexed regions of Ukraine, will become one of his deputies.
The changes in the leadership of the Russian forces in Ukraine are due to the “expanded scale” of the mission, as well as the need for closer cooperation between different parts of the army, according to the statement. President Vladimir Putin has made a number of changes in command in the months since his invasion failed to achieve the rapid victory the Kremlin initially expected.
Ukraine to Produce 82-mm Artillery Shells Abroad: Ukroboronprom (3:10 p.m.)
Ukrainian state-run military-industrial concern Ukroboronprom will produce artillery shells abroad using the capacities of one NATO’s member countries, according to its website. Serial production of an upgraded version of 82-mm shells has been launched.
Poland Offers Ukraine ‘Company’ of Leopard Tanks (3 p.m.)
Poland decided to provide Ukraine with “a company” of Leopard 2 tanks that will become part of delivery from a wider coalition of countries, President Duda said at a meeting with Ukrainian and Lithuanian counterparts in Lviv, West Ukraine. Poland is in talks with partners regarding supplies of tanks, and wants more NATO members to understand the importance of such support in the current phase of the war, Duda said.
Ukraine needs a joint solution from its partners on supplies of modern tanks as no single country will be able to supply enough to resist Russia’s aggression, Zelenskiy said at the same briefing. “We fight for common values, so we need joint help.”
Zelenskiy Meets Officials in Northwest, in Lviv (12:50 p.m.)
The Ukrainian president discussed the Ukrainian–Belarusian border and the Rivne nuclear power plant, according to a statement on his website. “We don’t see anything powerful there but we have to be ready both at the border and in the regions near Belarus,” Zelenskiy said.
He also honored the memory of Ukrainian soldiers who died in battles with Russian forces.
Kherson Shelled 1,200 Times Since November; 65 Dead (11:50 a.m.)
The southern city has come under permanent Russian shelling since November, when it was liberated by the Ukrainian Army, with attacks launched from the still-occupied right bank of Dnipro river, city military administration head Halyna Luhova said in an online briefing.
The strikes since Nov. 20 have destroyed critical infrastructure, educational institutions and hospitals, as well as hundreds of residences, according to Luhova. So far, 65 people have been killed, including a child, she said. One of the city district remains without heating, as it is impossible to repair the local electricity substation due to bombarding, shelling and snipers.
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