LVIV, Ukraine (Reuters) – Russian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a video address that Russian forces were shelling Ukrainian positions with artillery fire and that the eastern region alone had carried out about 400 strikes on Sunday.
Russia withdrew its forces from the southern city of Kherson this month and moved some to reinforce its positions in the eastern Donetsk and Luhansk regions, an industrial region known as Donbass.
“The heaviest fighting, as before, is in the Donetsk region. Although there have been fewer attacks today due to bad weather, the volume of Russian bombing is unfortunately still very high,” Zelensky said.
“In the Luhansk region, we are slowly moving forward during the fighting. So far, there have been nearly 400 artillery attacks in the east since the beginning of the day,” he continued.
Zelensky also said the forces in the south were “consistently and calculatedly destroying the potential of the occupiers,” but gave no details.
On Saturday, Kyiv said about 60 Russian servicemen were killed in a long-range artillery attack in the south, the second time in four days that Ukraine has claimed heavy casualties in a single incident.
Oleh Zhdanov, a military analyst based in Kyiv, said that according to his information, there were offensive battles on the front line at Bakhmut and Avdiivka in the Donetsk region, among others.
“The enemy is unsuccessfully trying to break through our defenses,” Zhdanov said in a video on social media. “We are resisting – they have suffered heavy losses.”
He said both militaries are focused on regrouping. Ukrainian forces are heading towards Zaporizhia, Dnipropetrovsk, Kharkiv and others. Russian forces are regrouping in the direction of Zaporizhia, Donetsk and Luhansk.
Russia’s Defense Ministry said on Sunday that up to 50 Ukrainian servicemen had been killed the day before along the southern front line in Donetsk and another 50 elsewhere. In total, 153 concentration areas of Ukrainian human forces and military equipment were destroyed on Saturday.
Reuters was not immediately able to verify the Ukrainian or Russian reports.
Russia describes its invasion of Ukraine as a “special operation” to disarm and “discredit” its neighbor, rather than a war. Kyiv and its allies say the invasion is an unprovoked war of aggression.
Kyrylo Tymoshenko, deputy head of the Zelensky administration, said late Sunday that Russian forces had fired at a residential building in the Kherson region of southern Ukraine.
“Maybe there are people under the rubble. Emergency services are working at the scene,” Tymoshenko said on the Telegram messaging app.
Kherson, the recently recaptured capital of the region, remains without electricity, running water, or heat.
Additional reporting by David Leungren in Ottawa and in Melbourne by Lydia Kelly; Writing by David Leungren and Lydia Kelly; Editing by Sandra Mahler and Diane Craft
Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.