It was reported that Ukrainian forces damaged a major bridge outside the occupied southern city of Melitopol, a major target in the region.
The crossing over the Molochna River between Melitopol and the village of Kostyantinivka is located to the east of the city on the M14 highway and has been beaten all night.
A video posted online showed two of the bridge’s supports were damaged during the attack, with the span partially collapsed by the blast, rendering it unusable in heavy military traffic.
The strike on the bridge comes only two days later Ukraine It hit a Russian barracks in a resort town, and HIMARS missiles inflicted significant damage and casualties.
The increased Ukrainian pressure on Russian forces in Melitopol appears to follow a similar pattern to the tactics used against Kherson before its liberation, targeting both Russian forces and supply lines, including logistical links to Crimea and further east through Russian-occupied cities to Berdyansk and Mariupol.
With Ukrainian forces now operating east of the Dnipro River, Melitopol is seen as a major target for Kiev in the south of the country after recapturing Kherson.
In the country’s east, where heavy fighting recently raged around the city of Bakhmut, both Russia and Ukraine said on Tuesday that the battlefield situation in eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk region was difficult, with each claiming some success in fending off the other. attacks.
The so-called Donetsk People’s Republic is one of four regions of Ukraine that Moscow declared as its own in September in an exercise that Ukraine and its allies denounced as a “sham” forced referendum.
Progress in some parts of the region has been difficult, said the senior Moscow-appointed official in occupied parts of the region, but added that more than half of Donetsk is under Russian control.
“More than 50% of the territory of the Donetsk People’s Republic has been liberated,” Denis Pushlin, the Russian official for the Moscow-controlled part, told the state-owned RIA news agency.
In its daily battlefield update on Tuesday, Ukraine’s military command said its forces had pushed back the Russians in 10 districts of the region.
Russia claimed it was gradually advancing on its positions, with the Defense Ministry saying on Monday that its offensive there had killed 30 Ukrainian military personnel the day before.
However, independent assessments of Russian gains show little progress in weeks of intense fighting as Ukraine moved to consolidate its positions before full winter conditions arrived on the front.
The latest fighting came as dozens of countries and international organizations threw their weight behind an urgent new push on Tuesday to keep Ukraine powered, fed, warm and moving in the face of relentless Russian aerial bombardment that has plunged millions into cold and darkness. winter.
An international donors’ conference in Paris raised €1.05 billion (£900m) in aid – financially and in kind – will be transferred to Ukraine in the coming weeks and months to help its beleaguered civilian population withstand the winter’s high temperatures and long nights.
In his opening speech, French President Emmanuel Macron described Moscow’s bombing of civilian targets as a war crime. He said the Kremlin attacks civilian infrastructure because its forces have suffered setbacks on the battlefield.
Macron said Moscow’s intention was to “plunge the Ukrainian people into despair”.
As temperatures drop and snow falls, Ukraine’s needs are huge and urgent. The government in Kiev says successive waves of missile and drone attacks since October have destroyed about half of the country’s energy infrastructure, and believes Moscow’s intention is to create a new wave of refugees pouring into Europe. Russia says the bombing of civilian infrastructure is aimed at weakening Ukraine’s ability to defend itself. In Ukraine, the lives of many have become a battle for survival.
In northern Ukraine, the Belarussian Defense Ministry announced on Tuesday a “sudden combat readiness check” of its forces – one in a series of statements by Russia’s ally Belarus since mid-October that Kiev says aim to strike fear into Ukrainians. Misleading the Ukrainian army.
Belarus has not sent troops to Ukraine but it has allowed Russia to regularly fire missiles from its territory into Ukraine and was one of the main launch pads for Russia’s offensive in February.
The maneuvers take place mostly in the northwest of the country, near Poland. The Ukrainian military said its commander, Valery Zalogny, had spoken to his Polish counterpart, Tomasz Piotrowski, to discuss the announcement.
Analysts say a possible attack on Ukraine from the north would likely aim to cut off or disrupt supplies coming from Poland as well as extending Ukrainian forces across the country.