Volodymyr Zelensky promises victory over the Russians in Ukraine

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky promised “victory” on Wednesday, speaking from the strategic city of Izum recaptured from the Russians, while his hometown of Kryvyi Rig was threatened with flooding after a Russian strike on water infrastructure.

Hit in the evening by seven Russian missiles, according to local authorities, Kryvyï Rig, in central Ukraine, and its 600,000 residents are facing flash flooding from a river, the Ingoulets, which threatens the city center and another neighborhood.

At the point of impact, a water flow of 100 m3 per second, which is a large volume. The water level of the Ingoulets changes every hour, said the deputy head of the presidential administration, Kyrylo Tymoshenko, while assuring that the situation is “under control.

Mr. Zelensky, for his part, denounced an “attempt to flood Kryvyi Rig”. The strike did not cause any casualties, according to the governor of the region, Valentin Reznichenko.

A few hours earlier, Mr. Zelensky had gone to Izum for his first trip to the Kharkiv region since this northeastern area was almost entirely recaptured from the Russians over the past two weeks.

A city of some 50,000 inhabitants before the war, Izum had been the subject of deadly fighting in the spring before being taken by the Russian army, which has made it a strategic supply hub.

“We are advancing only in one direction, forward, towards victory,” Zelensky wrote on Telegram on this occasion, while pointing out the extensive destruction suffered by Izioum.

Situation tense

Despite the Russian retreat against the Ukrainians, President Vladimir Putin does not consider the invasion launched on February 24 as a “mistake”, said Wednesday the German Chancellor, Olaf Scholz.

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Putin spoke by phone with UN Secretary General Antionio Guterres, welcoming “constructive cooperation” around the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine, occupied by Russia, where a delegation from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) recently visited.

He also said that Ukrainian grain, whose exports have resumed after months of blockage, should go “in priority” to the countries that need it most, not to the EU, which he has previously accused of receiving most of it.

Ukraine announced that it had taken back from the Russians in September alone thousands of square kilometers in the east and south, where the situation is “completely tense” and “very dynamic,” warned the spokeswoman for the southern command of the Ukrainian army, Natalia Goumeniouk.

For its part, the Russian army, whose strikes have caused widespread power cuts in several Ukrainian regions in recent days, said Wednesday to be shelling all Ukrainian forces, especially in the Kharkiv region.

“Massive strikes were carried out in the regions of the localities of Dvoritchna, Balaklyaya and Kupiansk,” the Russian Defense Ministry said.

In Mykolayev (South), two buildings were hit and two people died, according to local authorities. In Bakhmut, a city in the Donetsk region that Moscow has been trying to conquer for months, five civilians were killed Tuesday, the regional governor lamented.

No appeasement

In the Donetsk region, Governor Pavlo Kyrylenko reported shelling “along the entire front line. The governor of the neighboring Lugansk region, Sergei Gaidai, announced that Russian forces had regained control of the town of Kreminna.

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With the help of Western arms deliveries, Ukraine’s counter-offensive has taken back almost the entire Kharkiv region bordering Russia, and has made more modest territorial gains in the south, where it continues to hit bridges used by Russian forces.

The Ukrainian advances in September were the largest since the Russians left the outskirts of Kiev and central Ukraine in the spring after failing to capture it.

The West has imposed sanctions on Russia and increased arms shipments to the Ukrainians. European Union and NATO leaders regularly travel to Kiev to show their support for Zelensky.

The president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, announced before the European Parliament in Strasbourg (France) that she would go there on Wednesday, promising “unwavering solidarity” with Ukraine and firmness in dealing with Moscow.