Russia advances towards two cities in the Ukrainian region of Zaporizhia | Russo-Ukrainian War

Forces from Moscow are moving towards two towns in the Zaporizhia region of southern Ukraine, where fighting intensified this week after several months of a stagnant front, Russian state media reported.

Vladimir Rogov, a Russian official based in the region, said the offensive actions were concentrated around two towns: Orikhiv, about 50 km (30 miles) south of the Ukrainian-controlled regional capital Zaporizhzhia, and Hulyaipole, further ballast.

“The front is mobile, especially in two directions: Orikhiv and Hulyaipole,” Rogov was quoted by the RIA Novosti news agency as saying.

He said there was active fighting in those areas, according to the agency.

“The initiative is in our hands.

The Russian army later claimed for the second consecutive day that it had taken “more advantageous lines and positions” after “offensive operations” in the Zaporizhia region.

He claimed to have hit Ukrainian positions in the village of Lezhyno, outside the regional capital of Zaporizhzhia, which did not fall to Ukrainian forces.

Al Jazeera was unable to verify the information.

In its daily report on Sunday, the Ukrainian army said that “more than 15 settlements were hit by artillery fire” in Zaporizhia.

Earlier this week, Rogov announced a “local offensive” around Orikhiv and said the Russian army had taken control of the village of Lobkove, near the Dnieper River.

He also said this week that fighting had “escalated sharply” in the southern region.

The front in southern Ukraine has been considerably calmer recently than in the east, with Moscow withdrawing from the major city of Kherson in November.

Russia claims to have annexed the Zaporizhia region as well as three other Ukrainian regions, but does not control it in its entirety.

While Moscow controls large swaths of the southern part of the region, its main city Zaporizhzhia and the northern part are held by Kyiv.

Russia warns the West

The reports come as a Russian official said governments giving more powerful weapons to Ukraine could cause a “global tragedy that will destroy their countries”.

Vyacheslav Volodin, the speaker of Russia’s lower house of parliament, warned that the countries’ decision to supply Ukraine would lead to a “global catastrophe”.

“If Washington and NATO provide weapons that would be used to strike peaceful cities and attempt to take over our territory as they threaten to do, that would trigger retaliation with more powerful weapons,” he said. declared.

Germany is a major arms supplier to Ukraine, and it has ordered a review of its Leopard 2 stockpiles in preparation for a possible green light.

Nonetheless, the Berlin government has been cautious at every step of increasing its commitments to Ukraine, a hesitation seen as rooted in its history and political culture.

Meanwhile, France and Germany pledged to show “unwavering support” for Ukraine during ceremonies and talks on Sunday celebrating the 60th anniversary of their post-World War II friendship treaty. In a joint statement, the countries said they “will stand with Ukraine for as long as it takes.”

They also pledged to “work together for a European Union that is more resilient, more sustainable and more capable of acting independently”. The treaty that sealed a bond between longtime enemies France and Germany 60 years ago has underpinned today’s EU.

Germany’s timidity has drawn strong criticism, particularly from Poland and the Baltic states, countries on NATO’s eastern flank that were controlled by Moscow in the past and feel particularly threatened by the ambitions renewed imperial empires of Russia.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said that if Germany did not agree to transfer Leopard tanks to Ukraine, his country was ready to form a “small coalition” of countries that would send theirs anyway.

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