In Bakhmut and Kherson, Ukrainian forces advance against Russian fighters

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Ukrainian forces continued their advance against Russian forces in the southern Kherson region on Tuesday, pushed back Russian mercenaries from Bakhmut in eastern Donetsk, and made new gains in Luhansk, where they captured Crimea. and captured an important highway between the towns of Swatovo.

In a day of heavy fighting and rapid advances across several war zones, Ukraine appeared to build on its recent gains in recapturing occupied territories and pushing Moscow’s forces back into areas that President Vladimir Putin have claimed that they now belong to Russia.

Away from the battlefield, the Kremlin has repeatedly claimed without evidence that Kyiv is preparing to use a “dirty bomb,” a weapon that combines conventional explosives with radioactive material – an allegation that Which was rejected by the US. other western countries.

U.S. officials said Moscow’s accusations raised concerns that Russia itself was planning a radiation attack, possibly to justify escalating the war amid its continued regional pushback.

In a statement on Tuesday, Ukraine’s nuclear energy operator, Energoatom, issued a similar warning, citing the Russian military’s control of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Enerhodar. “Energoatom assumes that such actions by the occupiers may indicate that they are preparing a terrorist act using nuclear material and radioactive waste stored at the ZNPP site,” the statement said.

New fears of some kind of radiation attack add to the uneasy feeling that Putin’s war in Ukraine is getting deadlier and more dangerous as each side looks to redraw the facts on the ground before winter.

Ukraine is pushing hard for more territorial gains, after Russia launched a sustained bombing campaign against Ukraine’s energy system this month, plunging the country into cold and darkness and potentially causing battlefield casualties. Used missiles and attack drones to retaliate.

Failures in its invasion of Ukraine have led to increased nuclear threats from Russia, echoing Cold War events as infamous as the 1983 nuclear crisis. (Video: Joshua Carroll/The Washington Post)

As Ukraine continued to make gains, pro-Kremlin military bloggers and analysts on Tuesday confirmed new setbacks for Russia’s forces, including in eastern Ukraine’s occupied Luhansk region, where Russia has its strongest hold.

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“The Ukrainian army has resumed its counteroffensive in the direction of Luhansk,” the pro-Russian War Gonzo Project said in its daily military update, adding that Ukrainian forces had retaken a key area between the Luhansk towns of Svatov and Crimea. Took control of the highway.

Russia’s methodical attacks exploit the vulnerability of Ukraine’s power system.

“Russian artillery is actively operating on the left bank of the Zeribets River and is trying to prevent the transfer of reinforcements to the enemy, but the situation is very difficult,” War Gonzo said.

In the Donetsk region, Wagner paramilitaries, controlled by St. Petersburg businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin, were seen pushing back from Bakhmut, where mercenaries had spent weeks besieging the city but made little progress. Military experts said there was little strategic value in capturing Bakhmut, but Prigozhin appeared to see an opportunity to claim a political prize while Russia’s regular military units lost ground in other war zones.

The Washington-based Institute for the Study of War reported Monday that Ukrainian forces have recaptured a concrete factory on the eastern outskirts of Bakhmut. On Sunday, Prigozen acknowledged the slow pace of Wagner’s effort, saying the mercenaries were only gaining “100-200 meters per day”.

“Our units are constantly facing the fiercest enemy resistance, and I note that the enemy is well prepared, motivated, and confident and Working in harmony.” “It doesn’t stop our fighters from moving forward, but I can’t comment on how long that will take.”

In the southern Kherson region, one of four claimed by Moscow, Russian forces were preparing to defend the city of Kherson, amid speculation that they would withdraw to the eastern side of the Dnieper River. And important land will be taken away.

Displaced residents from Russian-occupied Kherson, Ukraine, arrive on buses in the Crimean city of Zhankoy on October 24. (Video: Reuters, Photo: Reuters/Reuters)

The Ukrainian military said in its operational update on Tuesday that Russian troops were establishing “defensive positions” on the eastern bank of the Dnieper, leaving small avenues for a possible retreat from the western bank.

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Speculation about whether Moscow is preparing to abandon Kherson has swirled for weeks after a series of gains by Ukrainian forces in the south.

“I don’t know all the nuances and plans of the command, but I don’t rule out the surrender of Kherson, because at that moment its defense can turn into a failure from a military point of view,” a famous Russian military blogger, who Writes under the moniker Zapiski Veterana, wrote in a telegram post. “But I think that if it is decided to fight to victory in Moscow, there is nothing to be sad about the surrender of Kherson, because the war has been going on here for a long time.”

Moscow may have no choice. “The Russian position in Upper Kherson Oblast is, nevertheless, potentially untenable,” the Institute for the Study of War said.

Kremlin-installed officials claim without evidence that attacks on the Kyiv-Kakhivka hydroelectric power plant, along with “dirty bomb” allegations, are forcing residents to evacuate the western banks of the Dnieper.

The mercenary chief pointed to Putin over clashes in the Ukraine war.

The US, France and Britain have accused Moscow of using the dirty bomb allegations as a pretext for escalation, and they have warned that Putin’s government will face additional punitive action from the West.

On Tuesday, the Kremlin called Washington’s distrust of Russia’s claims “an illegitimate and frivolous approach.”

After a two-week bombing campaign, in which Moscow systematically targeted energy infrastructure, Kyiv is worried about civilians enduring a harsh winter. Ukrainian officials have been pressing European officials for more advanced weapons over the past few weeks, particularly the advanced air defense systems needed to fend off Russian airstrikes.

The country also faces an immediate cash crunch, with officials raising questions about how Ukraine will secure funding to keep services running in the brutal weeks and months ahead. According to an estimate by the World Bank in early October, Ukraine’s economy will shrink by 35 percent this year.

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On Tuesday, Germany and the European Union hosted a conference in Berlin on reconstruction, although the talks seemed premature, especially given the Russian attacks that cause fresh destruction every day.

President Volodymyr Zelensky has said that Ukraine needs $38 billion in emergency economic aid for next year alone. But while senior officials regularly announce EU support for Ukraine, there are questions about short- and long-term follow-through.

Even as European Commission President Ursula van der Leyen has touted plans to help Ukraine until 2023, for example, EU officials earlier this year agreed to provide nearly $9 billion in loans. Admit the delay.

US Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen has in recent weeks urged European counterparts to provide financial support to Kyiv and indirectly questioned the decision to offer loans instead of grants.

“We are calling on our partners and allies to join us by quickly delivering on their existing commitments to Ukraine and moving forward to do more,” Yellen said this month. In a video address to the European Council summit in Brussels last week, Zielinski called out European leaders for failing to deliver urgently needed economic aid.

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“Thank you for the funds already allocated,” Zielinski said. “But no decision has yet been made on the remaining $6 billion of the package – which is desperately needed this year.”

“It is within your power,” he continued, “to reach an agreement in principle on the delivery of this aid to our state as early as today.”

With current needs unmet, some wonder how seriously the EU’s commitments to effort Marshall Plan proportions should be taken. A Q&A published by Germany’s Group of Seven presidencies ahead of Tuesday’s conference said the event would not include a “committing segment”. Instead, the goal is to “underline that the international community is united and committed in supporting Ukraine.”

In private discussions, some EU diplomats raised questions about whether the bloc should allocate resources to rebuilding a country that is still largely at war, particularly Europe’s own energy and economic crisis. In the face of crises.

As van der Leyen spoke in Berlin on Tuesday, the focus in Brussels was on efforts to find common ground among the EU’s member states on emergency energy measures.

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