[Reuters]- Ukrainian forces are withstanding repeated attacks near two key towns in the eastern Donbass region, President Volodymyr Zelensky said Wednesday, saying Russia’s tactics were insane.
In a video speech tonight, Mr Zelensky said he had good news from the front, but gave no further details.
He said the heaviest fighting had taken place near Avdiuka, a suburb of Donetsk, and Bakhmut, further northeast.
“This is where the madness of the Russian command is most evident. Day after day, for months, they are killing people there and concentrating the highest level of artillery fire,” he said.
Russian forces have repeatedly attempted to seize Bakhmut, which is located on the main road leading to the Ukrainian-held cities of Sloviansk and Kramatorsk.
Zelensky’s adviser Oleksiy Arrestovich said on Tuesday that on one particular day the Russians attacked Bakhmut eight times before lunch and were pushed back each time.
Zelensky did not mention what was happening near the southern city of Kherson, which is held by pro-Moscow forces.Ukrainian forces have said heavy fighting is expected there.
“In general, we are strengthening our positions across the front line, debilitating the aggressors, destroying their logistics and preparing good news for Ukraine,” he said.
Separately, Russian-installed authorities in Shakhtarsk, just east of Donetsk, said Ukrainian artillery fire had set fuel tanks at the town’s railway station ablaze.
Ukrainian forces, partly equipped with artillery supplied by the United States and other allies, are systematically bombarding Russian fuel and ammunition depots and railroad tracks.
Zelensky also said 10 Ukrainians had been released in a recent prisoner exchange between the two countries.
(Reporting by David Ljunggren, Editing by Jonathan Oatis)