Putin vowed to step up attack on Ukraine despite military setbacks, but also faced concerns from India and China about long-running conflict
Kyiv, Ukraine: Pressure on Russian President Vladimir Putin has mounted on the battlefields and in the world’s halls of power as Ukrainian forces launched a counterattack on Saturday, pushing further into the partially recaptured northeast of Ukraine.
Western officials and analysts say Russian forces appear to be setting up a new line of defense in northeastern Ukraine after counterattacks smashed the previous line, with soldiers in Kyiv near Kharkov, which borders Russia. He said it was making it possible to recapture vast tracts of land in the northeast.
Putin vowed at a high-level summit in Uzbekistan this week to continue his attacks on Ukraine despite recent military setbacks, but also faced concerns from India and China about the long-running conflict. .
“I know today’s times are not about war,” Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in televised comments to Russian leaders meeting in Uzbekistan on Friday. We’ve had several phone calls about how it affects the whole world.”
At the same summit the day before, Putin acknowledged China’s unspecified “questions and concerns” about the war in Ukraine and thanked President Xi Jinping for Beijing’s “balanced stance” on the conflict.
Russian forces’ hasty withdrawal this month from parts of the northeast they occupied early in the war, along with rare public reservations expressed by key allies, underscore the challenges facing Putin on all fronts. He stressed. China and India maintain strong ties with Russia and have tried to remain neutral to Ukraine.
In a statement, President Xi Jinping expressed support for Russia’s “core interests” but also hoped to work together to “bring stability” to world affairs. How can we move forward?”, adding that the biggest concerns facing the world are food security, fuel security and fertilizer issues.
“We have to find some solution and you have to contribute to it,” Modi stressed in a rare public denunciation.
The comments cast a shadow over the summit, which hoped Putin would hone his diplomatic standing and show that he was not so isolated internationally.
On the battlefield, the British Ministry of Defense said the new front line was likely between the Oskir River and Svatove, 150 kilometers (90 miles) southeast of Ukraine’s second-largest city Kharkov.
After Russian troops withdrew from the city of Izium, Ukrainian authorities uncovered one of the largest mass graves ever discovered.
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said the site contained more than 440 graves containing the bodies of hundreds of civilian adults, children and soldiers, some of whom were tortured, shot and killed by gunfire. . He cited evidence of atrocities, including bodies with ropes around their necks and broken arms.
“Torture was widespread in the occupied territories. That’s what the Nazis did. “We will uncover the identities of all those who tortured and mocked who brought this atrocity from here in Russia to Ukrainian soil.”
Meanwhile, Ukrainian forces are crossing the Oskir River in the Kharkiv region and are stationing artillery there, the Washington-based Institute for War Studies said Saturday. The river, which flows south from Russia into Ukraine, has been a natural break for the newly emerging frontline since Ukraine launched its counteroffensive about a week ago.
“Russian forces are likely too weak to stop further Ukrainian advances along the entire Oskir River,” the institute said.
A video circulating online showed Ukrainian forces continuing to retake land in the eastern part of the country, but its veracity could not be independently verified.
One of them showed a Ukrainian soldier walking past a damaged building and pointing at a colleague holding a blue-and-yellow Ukrainian flag atop a mobile phone tower. The soldiers identified the seized village as Dyblova, just northeast of the city of Sloviansk in the Donetsk region of Ukraine.
Another video shows two Ukrainian soldiers in what looks like a bell tower, one saying they have recaptured the village of Šturove, northeast of Sloviansk.
The Ukrainian military and Russia have not commented on the two villages.
Elsewhere, Russian forces continued to attack cities and villages with missile attacks and artillery fire.
A Russian missile strike set fire to an industrial area in Kharkiv early on Saturday, said regional governor Oleh Syniehubov. Firefighters put out the fire.
Syniehubov said the remnants suggested the Russians had fired S-300 surface-to-air missiles at the city. The S-300 is designed to attack airborne missiles and aircraft rather than ground targets. Analysts say Russia’s use of the missile suggests it may be running out of precision munitions.
Syniehubov reported that an 11-year-old girl was killed when the nearby city of Chuhuiv was shelled later in the day.
In the southern Zaporizhia region, which is largely occupied by Russian forces, one person was injured in the shelling of the city of Olikh, the region’s Ukrainian governor Oleksandr Starkh told Telegram. He also said Russian forces had shelled two of his villages in the area and destroyed several civilian installations.
Explosions were also reported in the Russian-occupied territory of Zaporizhia. At least five explosions were heard in the city of Melitopol, Russian-installed official Vladimir Rogov said in a telegram. He said he was in a village south of the city.
The Dnipropetrovsk region in central Ukraine also came under Russian attack overnight, according to its governor, Valentin Leznichenko. “The enemy attacked him six times and he fired more than 90 deadly projectiles into peaceful cities and villages,” he said.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian nuclear energy operator Energoatom said a convoy of 25 trucks delivered diesel and other vital supplies to Europe’s largest Zaporizhia nuclear power plant. .
Energoatom said the trucks were cleared to pass through Russian checkpoints on Friday to carry spare parts for repairing damaged transmission lines, chemicals for plant operation and additional fuel for backup diesel generators. It was
The six-reactor plant was occupied by Russian forces in March but is run by Ukrainian engineers. The last reactor was shut down on Sunday after repeated blackouts as artillery fire compromised critical safety systems.
The International Atomic Energy Agency reported on Saturday that one of the four main external power lines at the nuclear power plant had been repaired.
The Russian military has blamed Ukraine for the renewed shelling of the power plant. Ukrainian authorities did not immediately address the allegations.
According to Vyacheslav Gladkov, governor of the Russian border region of Belgorod, artillery fire killed one person and wounded two in Russia on Saturday. Gladkov blamed Ukraine. He could not confirm the claim.