Russian gains in eastern Ukraine, kyiv calls on Moscow troops to surrender | War in Ukraine
In Omsk, Russia, Russian reservists bid farewell to loved ones before departing for a base as part of a partial troop mobilization to support the country's military campaign in Ukraine, October 7, 2022.
Russian forces claimed early gains in eastern Ukraine on Friday after a series of bitter setbacks on multiple fronts, but kyiv appeared to retain the initiative, calling on Russian soldiers to choose surrender.
At the same time in Oslo, the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to the imprisoned Belarusian activist Ales Beliatski, the Russian NGO Memorial and the Ukrainian Center for Civil Liberties, a highly symbolic prize in the midst of the war in Ukraine.
< p class="e-p">On the ground, as a sign of the confidence gained by the Ukrainians after the success of their counter-offensive, Defense Minister Oleksiï Reznikov promised to guarantee life, security and justice to the Russian soldiers who would choose to surrender.
You can still save Russia from tragedy and the Russian military from humiliation, he said, as defeats prompted Russian President Vladimir Putin to mobilize hundreds of thousands in the army.
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Moscow, for its part, announced that it had made its first gains – three villages in eastern Ukraine – after losing thousands of square kilometers of territory on several fronts in recent weeks.
According to pro-Russian separatists fighting alongside troops from Moscow, the villages of Otradivka, Vessela Dolyna and Zaitseve are now under Russian control. The Russian Ministry of Defense had already announced the capture of Zaitseve the day before in its daily report.
These three villages are located south of the city of Bakhmout which is under Ukrainian control. The Russian army has been trying to take the area for months, without success so far.
Present in Bakhmout on Friday, AFP journalists have heard the sound of heavy artillery fire and multiple rocket launchers in the center of this city, which had a population of 70,000 before the war.
Occasional bursts of machine gun fire were also audible. A civilian volunteer from the humanitarian group Vostok SOS, Edouard Skorik, 29, told AFP that street fighting took place near his house, on the other side of the Bakhmouta river.
South of the city, in the direction of the villages captured by the Russians, columns of black smoke rose from explosions of shells, causing people to jump and sometimes dive to land civilians.
Ukrainian forces also reported gains on Friday: the village of Grekivka in the eastern Lugansk region, according to Governor Sergiy Gaidai.
Ukrainian forces claim territorial gains in both the south and northeast of the country.
In the occupied region of Kherson (south), at least five civilians were killed and five injured when a Ukrainian strike hit a civilian bus crossing a bridge on its way to work, according to pro-Russian official Kirill Stremoussov.
kyiv has repeatedly targeted bridges in this region in order to disrupt the logistical supply of Russian forces.
The Ukrainian presidency reported a new Russian strike on the region of Zaporizhia (south), for the second consecutive day, injuring one person. Infrastructure was destroyed in two districts. The occupier used drones for the first time, she said.
The day before, 11 people had been killed in Russian strikes on Zaporizhia, according to the Ukrainian emergency services.
The leader of the pro-Russian separatists in the Donetsk region (east), Denis Pushilin, noted the most difficult situation near Lyman, a railway junction recently taken over by Ukrainian forces, where Russian troops narrowly escaped encirclement.
According to him, the latter are fortifying a new line of defense near the Kreminna, further east, which the Ukrainian forces are testing day and night.
I think we all have the chances of accumulating forces and starting to liberate territories with new reserves, he added, announcing the dispatch of reinforcements.
Russia claimed last week the annexation of four regions it controls at least in part in Ukraine, following referendums denounced by the UN, kyiv and its Western allies.
As for the nuclear threat, it will crescendo.
After Vladimir Putin's threats to use the weapon to defend the territories that the Kremlin considers Russian, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Thursday spoke of preventive strikes against Russia.
If the Ukrainian presidency quickly backed down by saying that Mr. Zelensky was talking about pre-emptive sanctions and not strikes, Russian officials lambasted his remarks.
The Kremlin denounced a call to start a new world war and the head of the Russian diplomat Sergey Lavrov believed that such statements justified the Russian invasion.
President American Joe Biden warned him of the risk of an apocalypse, for the first time since the Cold War.