U.S. Embassy in Kiev, Ukraine Several regions in Ukraine, including the Black Sea port of Odesa and the second city of Kharkiv, lost electricity early on Thursday after being hit by volleys of Russian missiles, according to regional officials.


Maksym Marchenko, the governor of the Odessa region, announced on Telegram that a mass missile attack had taken out an energy facility in the port city. No casualties were reported from the attack on residential areas.

Oleh Synehubov, governor of the Kharkiv region, said 15 attacks had been launched against the city and region. The central city of Dnipro and other parts of the country also experienced strikes.
Russia claims control over the eastern half of the city of Bakhmut, but the Ukrainian military said late Wednesday that it had successfully repelled intense Russian attacks on the city.

Ukrainian defenders, who seemed to be preparing for a tactical retreat last week, remained defiant as one of the bloodiest battles of the year-long war raged on in the ruins of the small city.

Despite Ukrainian defenses, “the enemy continued its attacks and has shown no sign of letting up in storming the city of Bakhmut,” the Ukrainian General Staff wrote on Facebook. We were able to ward off attacks on Bakhmut and the neighboring towns thanks to our stalwart defenders.

Leaders in Ukraine’s government and military have recently discussed the importance of holding positions and inflicting heavy casualties on the Russian army to weaken their fighting capacity.

The battle for Bakhmut and the surrounding Donbas region was “our first priority,” President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a video address late Wednesday.

When speaking to CNN separately, he said, “We think that in the Donbas direction Russia has started its offensive. The attack has begun. That’s how it looks like: a gradual increase in aggression due to a lack of resources.

Wagner’s leader, the Russian mercenary Yevgeny Prigozhin, claimed that his forces had taken control of the city’s eastern reaches. If this is the case, the Russian military has spent a lot of money for nothing by taking nearly half of the city.

“Everything east of the Bakhmutka River is completely under the control of Wagner,” Prigozhin said on the Telegram messaging app.

Bakhmut, located on the border between Russia and Ukraine’s occupied Donetsk province, is split in half by the river. The majority of the city is located on the western side of the river.

Prigozhin has previously made overconfident predictions of future success. The situation on the ground was not verifiable by Reuters.

Ukrainian military analyst Oleh Zhdanov reported that Russian forces had taken control of the Ilyinivka district to the north of Bakhmut, in addition to the Zabakhmutka district on the eastern outskirts of the city.

According to his video commentary, “the situation is critical,” with Russian forces making gains near Avdiivka to the south of Bakhmut and around Svatovo to the north.
During a meeting of European Union defense ministers in Stockholm, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg warned that Russia was sending more troops into the battle.

They’ve taken heavy casualties, but “we cannot rule out” Bakhmut’s fall in the next few days, Stoltenberg said.
It was not a turning point in the war, but it did prove that “we should not underestimate Russia,” he said.

Ukraine’s military is using up artillery rounds faster than its allies can manufacture them, so EU defense ministers agreed to speed up the supply and buy more shells to help.

One billion euros would be allocated to incentivize EU states to increase artillery round shipments to Kyiv, and another billion euros would be allocated to fund the joint procurement of new shells.

Totally destroyed urban areas
Russia claims it has annexed nearly 20% of Ukrainian territory and that seizing Bakhmut is a first step toward annexing all of Ukraine’s industrial Donbas region on its border.

Western analysts say Bakhmut is of little strategic value, but its capture would give Russian President Vladimir Putin and his military a morale boost after a string of defeats in their “special military operation.”

When the weather improves and Ukraine receives more Western military aid, including tanks, Kyiv says it plans to launch a counteroffensive, which it says could determine the outcome of the war.

Since Russia invaded in February of last year, the months of fighting in the east have been among the deadliest and most destructive. Bakhmut has joined Mariupol,

Sievierodonetsk, and Lysychansk on the list of devastated cities.

Apartment buildings on fire and smoke rising from residential areas were captured on camera by a Ukrainian military drone, demonstrating the scope of the destruction in Bakhmut.

Deputy Ukrainian Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk stated that out of the pre-war population of around 70,000, only 4,000 civilians (including 38 children) remain in Bakhmut.
Avril Haines, the Director of National Intelligence for the United States, recently testified before a Senate committee that the United States does not expect the Russian military to make significant gains this year.

Russia justifies its invasion of Ukraine by claiming that its neighbor’s alliance with the West poses a threat to Russian national security.