Russian forces intensify shelling of Ukraine’s strategic eastern city Bakhmut
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky said his forces were still holding the strategic eastern town of Bakhmut despite repeated Russian attacks while the situation in the larger Donbas region remained tenuous. All times are Paris time (GMT+2).
3:05pm: Russian forces intensify shelling of strategic eastern city of Bakhmut
President Volodymyr Zelensky said Saturday that Ukrainian troops were facing a “most difficult” situation near the eastern town of Bakhmut, which has been under attack from the Russian army for weeks.
Ukraine is clawing back territory in both the east and south, occupied by Russia for months, but is facing a challenge in some areas.
“A very severe situation persists in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions,” Zelensky said, referring to two of the regions Russia claims to have annexed in staged referendums in September.
“The most difficult is near Bakhmut, like in previous days. We are still holding our positions,” he said.
Russian troops have for weeks been pummelling Bakhmut, a wine-making and salt-mining city that once had a population of 70,000.
3:05pm: Ukraine says shooting in Russian military base caused by row over religion
The gunmen who killed 11 and wounded 15 at a Russian military training camp near the Ukrainian border were from Tajikistan and had opened fire after an argument over religion, Oleksiy Arestovych, an adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, said on YouTube.
No civilians died in the attack but many soldiers were killed or wounded, the governor of Russia’s Belgorod region said.
2:45pm: Russia says Belgorod region bordering Ukraine hit by fresh strikes
The Russian Belgorod region bordering Ukraine was hit by strikes on Sunday, leaving at least four people injured in the latest attacks in the area, Russian officials said.
“As a result of shelling in Belgorod, three people from the same family were injured,” regional governor Vyacheslav Gladkov posted on Telegram on Sunday after visiting the family. Two of them were hospitalised.
Gladkov posted photos of damage, smashed windows and craters after strikes in the city and in the region of Belgorod. Around 16 explosions were recorded in the city of Belgorod, Russia’s investigative committee, which investigates serious crimes, said Sunday.
2:14pm: Belarus says it is hosting just under 9,000 Russian troops
The defence ministry in Minsk on Sunday said just under 9,000 Russian troops would be stationed in Belarus as part of a “regional grouping” of forces to protect its borders.
“The first troop trains with Russian servicemen who are part of the (regional grouping) began to arrive in Belarus,” Valeriy Revenko, head of the defence ministry’s international military cooperation department, wrote on Twitter. “The relocation will take several days.”
“The total number will be a little less than 9,000 people.”
More information would be provided at a briefing for military attachés, he added.
1:22pm: Russia says its forces repelled Ukrainian advances in Donetsk, Kherson, Mykolaiv regions
Russia’s defence ministry on Sunday said its forces had repelled efforts by Ukrainian troops to advance in the Donetsk, Kherson and Mykolaiv regions, inflicting what it described as significant losses against the enemy.
The battlefield reports could not immediately be verified.
Russia also said it was continuing air strikes on military and energy targets in Ukraine, using long-range precision-guided weapons.
11:26am: Rockets strike mayor’s office in separatist Donetsk
The mayor’s office in a key eastern Ukrainian city controlled by pro-Kremlin separatists was struck by rockets Sunday morning, Russian state agencies reported. There were no immediate reports of casualties.
According to RIA Novosti, the municipal building in Donetsk was seriously damaged by the attack, which local separatist authorities blamed on Ukraine.
Photos circulating on social media showed plumes of smoke swirling around the building, rows of blown-out windows and a partially collapsed ceiling. RIA Novosti and local media also reported that three cars parked nearby had burnt out as a result of the strike.
Kyiv didn’t immediately claim responsibility or comment on the attack.
6:59am: No civilians killed in attack at Russian military base, says local governor
No civilians were killed in the attack at a military base in Russia’s Belgorod region, but many soldiers were killed or wounded, the governor of Belgorod region Vyacheslav Gladkov said early on Sunday.
“A terrible event happened on our territory, on the territory of one of the military units,” Gladkov said in a video post on the Telegram messaging app.
“Many soldiers were killed and wounded … There are no residents of the Belgorod region among the wounded and killed.”
Gladkov did not say how many soldiers were killed. The state RIA news agency cited the defence ministry as saying that 11 people were killed and 15 others were wounded.
9:36pm: At least 11 dead, 15 wounded in shooting at Russian military training ground
At least 11 people were killed and 15 more wounded at a training ground in south-western Russia on Saturday when two attackers opened fire on a group of volunteers who wished to fight in Ukraine, the RIA news agency said.
The Russian news agency, citing the defence ministry, said the two assailants had been shot dead after the attack in the Belgorod region, which borders Ukraine. It said they were nationals from a former Soviet republic but did not give any details.
“During a firearms training session with individuals who voluntarily expressed a desire to participate in the special military operation (against Ukraine), the terrorists opened fire with small arms on the personnel of the unit,” RIA cited a defence ministry statement as saying. “As a result of the shooting, 11 people were fatally wounded. Another 15 people with wounds of varying severity were taken to a medical facility,” it said.
Authorities in Belgorod have repeatedly accused Ukraine of attacking targets in the city, but Kyiv has not claimed any responsibility.
Based on inputs from FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP and REUTERS.