The Ukrainian President has warned the war-torn country to prepare for a winter onslaught from Vladimir Putin with Russia increasing their attacks around the cities of Donetsk, Kupyansk and Avdiivka.
It’s thought Ukraine’s energy infrastructure will be targeted in a repeat of 12 months ago with it already being bombarded 60 times in the last several weeks.
The country was plunged into darkness last winter when thousands of Russian drones and missiles targeted Ukraine’s power sector leading to sweeping blackouts.
Zelensky has called recent strikes on the city of Kherson that killed three people and wounded a dozen – including a newborn baby – ‘revenge’ attacks that were ‘without any military necessity’.
Andriy Yermak, Zelensky’s chief of staff, met US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Washington yesterday as part of a trip to the United States to press Ukraine’s need for Western weapons.
Volodymyr Zelensky today pleaded with his Western allies to provide a weapons boost ahead of a brutal winter of conflict amid Russia launching a new wave of attacks
A Ukrainian soldier of the artillery unit fires towards Russian targets near the city of Bakhmut – around 90km north of Donetsk
‘As winter approaches, we expect the Russian missile terror to intensify,’ Yermak posted on Telegram after the meeting.
‘Therefore, we are in dire need of air and missile defence systems that will protect Ukrainian cities, key critical infrastructure facilities, and grain corridor routes,’ he said.
Yermak later said he also met US national security adviser Jake Sullivan as well as British and European security and foreign policy advisers to discuss the ‘situation on the battlefield’.
Yermak said Russia has increased the number of its forces in Ukraine and that Kyiv ‘needs to maintain international support’.
The plea for a weapons boost comes amid the European Union saying it will miss its target to supply Ukraine’s frontline with one million artillery shells and missiles by next March. So far, only 300,000 rounds have been delivered.
Boris Pistorius, the German defence minister, said it should be ‘assumed’ the one million target will not be met.
EU commissioner Thierry Breton though remains hopeful the target can be met ‘but it is now upon member states to place their orders’.
He said: ‘It is true that we dropped a bit, even significantly, our production capacity, but the industrial base is still there to ramp up production.’
The conflict is fast approaching its two year anniversary but there are fears within Ukraine Western fatigue and world attention on the Israel-Hamas war could weaken support for its army.
In a separate speech in Washington today, Yermak said Ukraine had ‘gained a foothold on the left bank of the Dnipro’, without providing further details.
The vast Dnipro river splits the frontline in the south of Ukraine, with Russian forces entrenched on the eastern, or left, bank and Ukraine on the opposite side.
Ukrainian soldiers take shelter on November 11 as the Russia-Ukraine war continues in Donetsk Oblast
A woman holds her cat outside her heavily bombed residential building in Avdiivka which has been targeted by Russian military airstrikes
Buildings have been heavily bombed in Avdiivka. Moscow’s forces have been intensifying air bombardments and trying to move forward with ground forces
Officials said Russian forces had suffered heavy losses around the city. They also said Ukrainian forces had repelled Russian attacks in other areas of the 1,000 km frontline
A police officer convinces a local to evacuate his dilapidated home. The area is facing daily destruction from Russia as Putin turns his attentions to eastern Ukraine after failing to capture Kyiv
Over the last few weeks, Russian military bloggers close to the armed forces have reported Ukrainian forces had made successful amphibious landings on the Russian side.
They reported the Ukrainians established positions in the village of Krynky, around 35 kilometres (22 miles) upstream from Kherson.
Neither the Russian or Ukrainian defence ministry have commented on the reports.
Fighting has gripped the area around the shattered eastern Ukrainian town of Avdiivka, Ukraine’s military said yesterday, with Moscow’s forces intensifying air bombardments and trying to move forward with ground forces.
Officials said Russian forces had suffered heavy losses around the city. They also said Ukrainian forces had repelled Russian attacks in other areas of the 1,000 km frontline.
Russia has focused on eastern Ukraine since failing to advance on Kyiv in the early days of the war and in mid-October launched a push to seize Avdiivka.
‘Fighting is still going on. Over the last two days, the occupiers have increased the number of air strikes using guided bombs from Su-35 aircraft,’ Ukrainian military spokesman Oleksandr Shtupun told national television.
Ukraine gunners of the 79th separate amphibious assault brigade of Armed Forces of Ukraine conduct military activity in the Donetsk direction on October 11
Soldiers of the 59th Motorized Brigade of the Ukrainian army prepare to open fire on Russian positions with Grad rockets in the Donetsk Oblast
Members of Ukraine’s National Guard Omega Special Purpose fire a SPG-9 anti-tank grenade launcher toward Russian troops in the front line town of Avdiivka
‘The enemy is also bringing in more and more infantry. But when they tried to deploy armoured vehicles the day before yesterday two tanks and 14 other vehicles were burned out.’
Ukrainian forces, he said, had repelled eight attacks in the past 24 hours on the city, known for its vast coking plant.
Vitaliy Barabash, head of Avdiivka’s military administration said Russian forces, told the state news agency Ukrinform that Russian losses in the current drive on the city stood at minimum 3,000 to 4,000 dead and a further 7,000 to 8,000 wounded.
He said ‘not a single building’ was intact in the city, with just over 1,500 of its pre-war population of 32,000 remaining and evacuations proceeding. The hospital was functioning under constant shelling and a single shop was open.