A Russian offensive is continuing toward the hub cities of Bakhmut and Avdiyivka in the eastern Donetsk region as the enemy tries to inflict “maximum losses” on Ukrainian forces, the Ukrainian Army’s General Staff said early on August 9.
It said the Russian Air Force was bombarding military facilities in the direction of Donetsk in support of artillery and other ground operations aimed at dislodging Ukrainian units from the front lines.
British intelligence warned on August 8 that Russia was using anti-personnel mines in an effort to defend and hold its defense lines in the Donbas, with resulting risks to both the military and local civilian populations.
Battlefield reports from either side in the rapidly developing conflict are difficult to confirm.
But Kyiv’s military planners said their forces had repelled reconnaissance and offensive operations in a handful of settlements around Ivano-Daryivka, Bakhmut, and Zaitsevo.
They said Russian forces had withdrawn after unsuccessful pushes around Avdiyivka and Krasnohorivka.
Kyiv said two Russian warships armed with Kalibr cruise missiles are poised for battle off Ukraine’s Black Sea coast.
Meanwhile, international concern persisted over the weekend shelling of the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant over the potential for a disaster at Europe’s largest atomic facility.
The head of the Ukrainian nuclear power company Enerhoatom has urged that Zaporizhzhya be declared a military-free zone to avoid nuclear catastrophe.
Zaporizhzhya was seized early in the five-month-old invasion but continues to be manned by Ukrainian staff.
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned that “any attack to a nuclear plant is a suicidal thing” in calling on August 8 for international inspectors to be given access to Zaporizhzhya.
The Russian-installed head of the local administration was quoted by Interfax as saying on August 8 that the facility was operating “in normal mode.”
Washington and the World Bank announced more support for Ukraine on the heels of U.S. President Joe Biden’s committing this week to the single largest package of security assistance under his so-called drawdown authority with $1 billion in aid that includes long-range weapons and medical transport vehicles.
The U.S. Agency for International Development, or USAID, said on August 8 that Washington would provide $4.5 billion more in economic funding, nearly doubling the budgetary support so far since Russia’s invasion began in February.
The World Bank said it will implement the U.S. grant, which it said is aimed at urgent needs including healthcare, pensions, and social payments.
Also, Reuters cited a document in which Russia, Ukraine, Turkey, and the United Nations pledged to ensure a 10-nautical-mile buffer zone for ships exporting Ukrainian grain through the Black Sea.
The long-awaited procedures are part of intense international efforts to unblock millions of tons of grain stuck at Ukrainian ports since the invasion began.
Some information in this report came from Reuters and the Asssoiated Press.