Monday, April 10, 2023

Blasts Hit Russia-Controlled City in Ukraine on Supply Route to Crimea; Russia's Prigozhin Says No Sign Ukraine Quitting Bakhmut, More Support Needed; Wagner Group founder: Ukrainian forces not retreating from Bakhmut, Russian offensive 'out of question'; UKR's Defenders Repel Over 20 RU Attacks, LIVE UPDATES and MORE

Kai Pfaffenbach/REUTERS
Blasts Hit Russia-Controlled City in Ukraine on Supply Route to Crimea
Explosions heard in Melitopol for third day, in possible prelude to Kyiv’s spring offensive
Ukraine stepped up strikes on a Russian-occupied city in southern Ukraine that sits along a critical supply line to Crimea and is a potential prime target for Ukraine’s planned spring offensive.
The exiled mayor of Melitopol, Ivan Fedorov, said a Russian base near an airfield was struck. Russian-installed occupation authorities in Melitopol said air defenses shot down six missiles fired by U.S.-supplied M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System or Himars. Western military analysts have said that Himars rockets probably can’t be intercepted by Russian systems.
The strikes were the third attack on the city in recent days. On Wednesday, there were explosions in the vicinity of a train depot and a military airstrip, Mr. Fedorov said. Two days earlier, Russian-installed official Maksym Zubarev was seriously wounded in an apparent car bomb attack in the city. Kyiv didn’t claim responsibility, but it has stated on several occasions that Ukrainian partisans are working in Russian-occupied areas.
Russian forces seized Melitopol in the early days of the invasion last year, creating a land bridge connecting areas under its control in mainland Ukraine with the Crimean Peninsula, which Russian forces occupied in 2014.
The timing and target of Kyiv’s anticipated military push is closely guarded, but analysts say a thrust south to Melitopol makes strategic sense because it could break through Russia’s land bridge and restore Ukraine’s access to the Azov Sea.
From the north shore of the Azov Sea, Ukrainian forces would potentially be able to strike the Kerch Strait Bridge, which Russia opened in 2018 to connect its mainland to Crimea. The bridge was hit with an explosion in October that seriously damaged its structure and impeded Moscow’s transports to Crimea. Russian teams are still working to repair it.
Two roads to Crimea run through a swampy isthmus from the Russia-controlled land bridge. --->READ MORE HERE
REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach
Russia's Prigozhin says no sign Ukraine quitting Bakhmut, more support needed:
The head of Russia's private Wagner militia said on Thursday that Ukrainian forces were not abandoning the city of Bakhmut but that, even if they did, he would need more support from the regular military before trying to advance further.
President Volodymyr Zelenskiy had on Wednesday raised the prospect of a withdrawal from the city, saying Kyiv would take the "corresponding" decisions if its forces risked being encircled by Russian troops.
Wagner forces are leading the battle for the city, which has become the bloodiest of the 13-month war, and Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu has said its capture would open up the battlefield and allow Russia to advance further into eastern Ukraine.
But Yevgeny Prigozhin, who has accused the military top brass of ineffectiveness bordering on treason in recent months, said this was still some way off.
"It must be said clearly that the enemy is not going anywhere," he said on his Telegram channel.
He said Ukrainian troops had organised staunch defences inside the city, particularly along railway lines and in high-rise buildings in the west of the city, and that, if they fell back, they would take up new positions in the outskirts and in Chasiv Yar to the west. --->READ MORE HERE
Follow links below to +++++relevant+++++ and related stories:

+++++Russia-Ukraine News LATEST UPDATES: (REUTERS) (AP) (NY POST) and (WSJ)+++++

+++++Wagner Group founder: Ukrainian forces not retreating from Bakhmut, Russian offensive 'out of question'+++++

+++++Ukraine's defenders repel over 20 Russian attacks, 10 of them near Bakhmut – General Staff+++++

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