No let-up in hostilities in Ukraine regardless of prisoner swap

KYIV: Russian and Ukrainian forces exchanged missile and artillery barrages that killed at the very least six individuals Thursday as either side refused to concede any floor regardless of latest army setbacks for Moscow and the toll on the invaded nation after nearly seven months of battle.
Russian missile strikes within the southern metropolis of Zaporizhzhia left one individual useless and 5 others wounded, Ukrainian officers stated. Officers within the separatist-controlled metropolis of Donetsk stated Ukrainian shelling killed at the very least 5 individuals.
Demonstrating that neither aspect was able to ease up or pause the combating, the alternate of fireplace got here hours after the 2 sides made a significant prisoner swap and the day after Russian President Vladimir Putin known as up reserve troops to complement his forces.
Kyrylo Tymoshenko, the deputy of the Ukrainian president’s workplace, stated a lodge within the central a part of Zaporizhzhia was struck and rescuers had been attempting to free individuals trapped within the rubble.
The governor of the Zaporizhzhia area, Oleksandr Starukh stated Russian forces focused infrastructure services and in addition broken close by condo buildings. The area is one in all 4 the place officers put in by Moscow plan to carry referendums beginning Friday on changing into a part of Russia, however the metropolis itself is in Ukrainian arms.
In the meantime, the mayor of the separatist-controlled metropolis of Donetsk, Alexei Kulemzin, stated at the very least 5 individuals the place killed when Ukrainian shelling Thursday hit a lined market and a passenger minibus.
Simply hours earlier than Thursday’s assaults, a high-profile prisoner swap noticed 215 Ukrainian and overseas fighters exchanged – 200 of them for a single individual, an ally of Putin’s. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov would not verify if the lone Putin ally – pro-Russian Ukrainian opposition chief Viktor Medvedchuk – was a part of the swap.
Among the many freed fighters had been Ukrainian defenders of a metal plant in Mariupol throughout a protracted Russian siege and 10 foreigners, together with 5 British nationals and two U.S. army veterans, who had fought with Ukrainian forces.
A video on the BBC information web site Thursday confirmed two of the launched British males, Aiden Aslin and Shaun Pinner, talking inside a aircraft. It stated that they had arrived in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
“We simply need to let everybody know that we’re now out of the hazard zone and we’re on our method residence to our households,” Aslin stated within the video, as Pinner added: “By the pores and skin of our enamel.”
The velocity with which the Russian missile assault got here after the swap steered that Kremlin was in search of to dispel any notion of weak spot or waning dedication to attain its battle goals following latest battlefield losses and setbacks that gravely undercut the aura of Russian army would possibly.
These losses culminated Wednesday in Putin’s order for a partial mobilization of reservists to bolster his forces in Ukraine. The order sparked uncommon protests within the Russia and was derided within the West as an act of weak spot and desperation.
The partial call-up was quick on particulars, elevating considerations of a wider draft that despatched some Russians scrambling to purchase aircraft tickets to flee the nation.
Peskov, the Kremlin spokesman, stated the mobilization was wanted as a result of Russia was “de facto dealing with all of NATO,” a reference to the army assist and different help that alliance members have offered to Ukraine.
A senior Kremlin official on Thursday repeated Putin’s risk to make use of nuclear weapons if Russian territory comes underneath assault.
Dmitry Medvedev, deputy head of Russia’s Safety Council, stated on his messaging app channel Thursday that strategic nuclear weapons are one of many choices to safeguard Russian-controlled territories in japanese and southern Ukraine. The comment appeared to function a warning that Moscow might additionally goal Ukraine’s Western allies.
Professional-Moscow authorities in Ukraine’s Russian-controlled areas are making ready to carry referendums on changing into a part of Russia – a transfer that would permit Moscow to escalate the battle. The votes begin Friday within the Luhansk, Kherson, Zaporizhzhia and Donetsk areas.
International leaders have known as the votes illegitimate and nonbinding. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy stated they had been a “sham” and “noise” to distract the general public.
One individual was killed throughout Russian shelling in a single day within the middle of Nikopol metropolis, throughout the river from the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Energy Plant, in line with Dnipropetrovsk area governor Valentyn Reznichenko.
The workplace of Zelenskyy stated 5 individuals had been killed by shelling within the Donetsk area over the previous day.

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