Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky travelled to eastern Donetsk region, an area Russia proclaimed as its own months ago. News agency BBC in a report said Zelensky visited an area near Bakhmut. Regaining Bakhmut from Russian control is now the primary objective of the Ukrainian forces who retook Kherson last month.
Parts of Donetsk have been under Russian control or under the jurisdiction of the pro-Russian Donetsk People’s Republic’s force led by Denis Pushilin since 2014.
Ukraine said Russia carried out attacks in the central-eastern Dnipropetrovsk region, injuring one in the city of Kryvyi Rih, the BBC said quoting regional head Valentyn Reznichenko.
Russia targeted critical civilian infrastructure on Monday as well, waging a psychological war by attacking power stations and exposing its citizens to hypothermia and other diseases amid snow and sub-zero temperatures.
Millions in Ukraine remain without electricity and running water.
Zelensky, according to the BBC report, told the troops near Bakhmut he was proud of them as they held an area which not only protects eastern Ukraine but also the entire country. He exuded confidence that Ukrainian forces will retake Crimea, which Russia annexed eight years ago.
Russia’s efforts in the region of Bakhmut are led by the private military contractor Wagner Group. The scenes of the battles being fought in Bakhmut have been compared to the first World War as trenches, charred trees and mud have become prominent features of the battle landscape, the BBC said in its report.
Both sides have been thought to have suffered heavy losses and Russia continues to attempt to seize more territory.
Zelensky met troops in Sloviansk, which is 45 kms from Bakhmut, and later he visited wounded Ukrainian soldiers in the north-eastern Kharkiv region.
Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin held a meeting to discuss domestic security after drone attacks on two airfields deep inside Russia led to deaths and injuries.
Ukrainian forces allegedly attacked airfields in Ryazan and Saratov in south-central Russia killing three servicemen, injuring two and damaging two aircrafts. They also attacked an airfield outside the Russian border town Kursk with drones, setting an oil tanker ablaze. No casualties were reported from Kursk.
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