IG news Update,
Ukrainian military and local officials said Russian forces launched attacks on two major cities in the eastern Donetsk region on Saturday and continued rocket and shelling attacks on other Ukrainian cities, including one close to Europe’s largest nuclear power plant.
Both the cities of Bakhmut and Avdivika were considered prime targets of Russia’s ongoing offensive in Ukraine’s east, with analysts suggesting Moscow needs to take Bakhmut if it is to advance into the regional centers of Sloviask and Kramatorsk.
“In the Donetsk direction, the enemy is conducting an offensive, concentrating its main efforts on the Bakhmut and Avdivka directions. It uses ground attack and military aviation,” the Ukrainian General Staff said on Facebook.
The last Russian attack on Sloviask took place on 30 July, but Ukrainian forces are strengthening their positions around the city in anticipation of new fighting.
“I think it will not be quiet for long. Eventually, there will be an attack,” Colonel Yuri Bereza, the head of the Volunteer National Guard regiment, told the Associated Press.
In the last day of the Donetsk government, Russian shelling in the Donetsk region killed five civilians and injured 14 others. Pavlo Kyrilenko wrote on Telegram on Saturday, adding that two people died in Poprosny, and one each in Avdivka, Soledar and Pervomsky.
Civilian injured in Nikopoli
The governor of the East Dnipropetrovsk region said three civilians were injured after a Russian rocket fell on a residential neighborhood in Nikopol, a city across the Dnieper River from the Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Station.
The nuclear plant has been under Russian control since it was confiscated by Moscow troops early in the war.
“After midnight, the Russian army attacked the Nikopol area with Grad rockets and the Krivy Rih area from barrel artillery,” Valentin Reznichenko wrote on Telegram.
Another Russian missile attack damaged unspecified infrastructure in the regional capital Zaporizhzhya overnight. On Thursday, Russia fired 60 rockets at Nikopol, damaging 50 residential buildings in the city of 107,000 and leaving residents without electricity.
The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Rafael Grossi, warned this week that the situation at the Zaporizhzhya plant was getting more dangerous by the day.
He expressed concern over the way the plant was operated and the danger posed by the ongoing fighting around it. Experts at the US-based Institute for the Study of War said they believe Russia is deliberately shelling the region, “putting Ukraine in a difficult position.”
The Ukrainian company that operates the nuclear power station said on Saturday that Russian troops were using the basement of the plant to hide from Ukrainian shelling and prevented its Ukrainian workers from going there.
“Ukrainian personnel do not yet have access to these complexes, so in the event of new shelling, people have no shelter and are in danger,” Ukrainian state-owned Enerhoatum said on its Telegram channel.
Enerhoatom said Friday that Russian rockets damaged the plant’s facilities, including a nitrogen-oxygen unit and a high-voltage power line. Local Russian-appointed officials acknowledged the damage, but blamed it on alleged Ukrainian shelling.
Attacks on Mykolaive, Kharkiv
In the south of Ukraine, two civilians were seriously injured after Russian forces fired rockets at the Black Sea port of Mykoliv on Saturday, according to regional officials. After this, one person was killed and 21 others were injured in the attack on Mycolive on Friday afternoon.
In the Kherson region south of Mykolaiv, the deputy mayor of the Russian-occupied city of Nova Kakhovka was in critical condition after an assassination attempt, Russian state news agency RIA-Novosti said, citing the Kherson region’s deputy chief, most of whom Russia is under control.
In the north, Ukraine’s second-largest city Kharkiv and its surrounding region also came under fire from Russian rockets overnight, according to the regional government’s Oleh Sinihubov. An 18-year-old man in the town of Chuhuiv, near Kharkiv, had to be hospitalized on Saturday after he picked up an unexplained shell.
Both Chuhuiv and Kharkiv have faced continued Russian shelling in recent weeks due to their proximity to the Russian border.
The neighboring Sumi region, which also shares a border with Russia, has also seen near-constant shelling and missile attacks. Its regional governor said on Saturday that the province had been hit by Russian territory more than 60 times compared to the previous day, and one wounded civilian had to be hospitalized.
On the ammunition front, Russia has begun using Iranian combat drones in combat, Ukrainian presidential adviser Oleksey Erestovich said in a YouTube address, adding that Tehran had transferred 46 drones to the Russian military.
A Ukrainian official said on Saturday that North Macedonia has agreed to supply tanks and planes to Ukraine to help deter Moscow’s current offensive.
“Many nations today are showing courage in more than half of the G20. North, like Macedonia, are giving Ukraine” [supportive] Shoulder as tanks and planes,” wrote Mykhailo Podolik, a senior aide to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, on Twitter.
North Macedonia’s defense ministry confirmed last week that it would supply Soviet-era tanks to Ukraine, but said nothing about aircraft deliveries.