Ukraine: 'Hard fighting' in Bakhmout, kyiv calls for fighter jets | War in Ukraine

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Ukraine: “Bitter fighting” in Bakhmut, kyiv calls for fighter planes | War in Ukraine

Germany is said to have gathered around a hundred pieces of evidence that would prove that war crimes were committed in Ukraine.

Rescuers evacuate a resident of an apartment building that was hit by Russian missile fire in central Kharkiv, Ukraine on February 5, 2023.

'Fierce fighting' is taking place in Bakhmut, the frontline hotspot in eastern Ukraine, on Sunday, and kyiv is pressing the West for fighter jets in the face of an increasingly difficult military situation .

Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov criticized the reluctance to deliver such devices to his country, which will cost more Ukrainian lives.

At the same time, he promised that the long-range weapons that will soon be supplied to Ukraine would be used to target not Russian territory but only occupied areas, some Western capitals being worried about a risk of escalation of the conflict that began almost a year ago.

We always declare to our partners that we oblige ourselves to use weapons [provided by] foreign partners not against the territory of Russia but only on its units in the temporarily occupied territories in Ukraine, the minister said.

The Russian army, supported by the mercenaries of the Wagner group, has been trying since the summer to seize Bakhmout, a largely destroyed city where the two belligerents suffered heavy losses.

Plumes of smoke rise after a Russian strike in Bakhmout in the middle of an Orthodox Christmas.

Moscow has made small territorial gains in the region in recent weeks with the hope of breaking the Ukrainian lock on this city, conquering in particular the town of Soledar in the north and, more recently, the village of Blagodatné.

Fierce fighting is taking place in the northern neighborhoods [of Bakhmout] for every street, every house, every stairwell, said Sunday the boss of the Russian paramilitary group Wagner, Yevgeny Prigojine, whose men are on the front line on place.

“Ukrainian armed forces are not retreating. They fight to the last man.

— Yevgeny Prigozhin, boss of the Russian paramilitary group Wagner

Asked about a possible withdrawal of Bakhmout, Mr. Reznikov assured that it is still a fortress, a symbol, but that the decision ultimately rests with the staff of the Ukrainian army. /p>

AFP journalists attended a liturgical ceremony there on Sunday, held in the basement of the church with the golden bulb of All Saints in the presence of ;about twenty people, including two Ukrainian soldiers.

Three women sang hymns punctuated by the deafening sound of mortar shells. The room was only lit by about twenty candles and a portable lamp used by the two priests to read the Bible.

Today I prayed that everything would be better for me after my death, Bakhmout Serafim Chernychov, 20, explained outside this church, while the explosions produced by the exchanges shots rang out constantly.

Last night a missile hit my garden and a bullet went inside my house, it could have hit me. So we have to understand that life is short: I can die now or in 30 years, he continued. If I am killed, it will be God's will, he added resignedly.

Lioubov Avramenko, 84, said he prayed for peace. We are sitting in a basement without water, gas or electricity, she testified.

I prayed for my country, for the ;Ukraine, for my family. I'm sure it will all be over soon, Svitlana Boïko, 51, wants to believe.

On Saturday evening, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky acknowledged that the situation was getting complicated on the front, especially in Bakhmout, which he had earlier sworn not to give up and to defend as long as possible.

“The occupier is mobilizing its forces more and more to breach our defense.

—Volodymyr Zelensky, President of Ukraine

He also cited Vougledar, where Russian troops are on the offensive, and Lyman, a town recaptured from the Russians during a Ukrainian counter-offensive in 2022.

Five people were additionally injured on Sunday in two Russian strikes on the center of Kharkiv, Ukraine's second-largest city, in the northeast, according to the head of the regional military administration, Oleg Sinegoubov.

Ukrainian Defense Minister has said he expects a major Russian assault in February.

All Western weapons will not have time to arrive before that, but we have the resources and the reserves to resist, he assured.

According to him, the Russians have moved their command centers and ammunition depots in such a way as to make it more difficult for Ukrainian strikes to break through their supply lines.

To counter this, the Americans have pledged to provide rockets that could almost double the range of Ukrainian fire.

The first Leopard 2 tank donated to Ukraine by Canada left on Saturday. (File photo)

And a series of Western countries, not only the United States but also France and, after some hesitation, Germany, will send heavy tanks to kyiv, which otherwise hopes to go on the offensive. /p>

On Saturday, Canada shipped the first German-built Leopard 2 to Ukraine.

Mr. Reznikov, for his part, announced that training with Leopards would begin on Monday.

He also promised internal audits at the Ministry of Defence, which has been tarnished in recent weeks by a corruption scandal linked to army procurement.

The x27;Germany has collected hundreds of pieces of evidence of war crimes in Ukraine, Attorney General Peter Frank said in an interview published on Sunday, in which he calls for an international mechanism to bring those responsible to justice.< /p>

At the moment, we are concentrating on Boutcha and on attacks against civilian infrastructure in Ukraine, said Peter Frank, interviewed by the newspaper Welt am Sonntag.

He added that most of the evidence came from interviews with Ukrainian refugees.

The aim is to prepare for a possible trial, whether in Germany, with one of our international partners or before an international court, he said.

M . Frank clarified that his services began investigating the situation in Ukraine in March 2022.

However, he recognizes that to prosecute war crimes suspects in Germany, they would have to be in that country.

German Attorney General Peter Frank says his country has hundreds of evidence that would prove war crimes were committed in Ukraine.

In January, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said she supported the creation of a special tribunal to prosecute Russian leaders following the invasion of Ukraine using possibly Ukrainian law. This tribunal should be based abroad and made up of international judges, she said.

“Which do we want to bring to justice? The leaders – those who made the decision to go to war – and those who, at the highest levels of the military, carry out that decision.

— Peter Frank, German Attorney General

In the kyiv suburb of Bucha, hundreds of bodies have been discovered after the Russian army found them was expelled in March 2022.

This massacre sparked a wave of convictions and accusations of war crimes, which Moscow has always denied.