Kyiv’s forces have repelled several waves of Russian attacks in the Donbas, the Ukrainian military says, as President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said the heavy losses sustained by the Russians on a daily basis highlighted the “madness” of Moscow’s strategy of attack.
In the southern city of Kherson, Ukraine accused Russia of looting empty homes and occupying them with troops in civilian clothes in expectation of a Ukrainian offensive to retake the city that was the first to fall to Moscow’s forces at the start of its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.
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The Ukrainian military’s General Staff said in its daily update that Russian troops in the east continued their attacks on Bakhmut, Avdiyivka, and Novopavlivka, the focal points of Moscow’s offensive in Donetsk in recent weeks.
At the same time, the military said, Russian troops continue to shell critical infrastructure and civilian objectives in various regions of Ukraine.
In his regular video address, Zelenskiy on November 7 called the intense combat in the Donetsk region “the epicenter of the biggest madness of the occupiers.”
“They are dying in hundreds every day,” Zelenskiy said. “The ground in front of the Ukrainian positions is literally littered with the bodies of the occupiers.”
Zelenskiy also said that Russian soldiers in the Pavlivka area had complained to the governor of their region in the Russian Far East.
CNN reported on November 7 that in a letter purportedly sent from the front lines to Primorsky region Governor Oleg Kozhemyako, the men of the 155th Brigade of the Russian Pacific Fleet Marines say they were thrown into an “incomprehensible battle” in the Donetsk and had lost about 300 men, dead and wounded, in four days, while also losing 50 percent of their equipment.
Zelenskiy said that in response to the letter, Kozhemyako had said that the losses were “not that big” and they were “exaggerated.”
In Kherson, the only pocket of Russian-held territory on the west bank of the Dnieper River that bisects Ukraine, Moscow has ordered civilians out of the city in anticipation of a Ukrainian assault to recapture the city.
Kherson, with a prewar population of nearly 300,000, has no power or running water, both sides said.
Russian-installed officials blamed Ukrainian “sabotage,” while Ukrainian officials said the Russians had dismantled 1 1/2 kilometers of power lines.
Ukraine’s military said Russian forces, “disguised in civilian clothes, occupy the premises of civilians and strengthen positions inside for conducting street battles.”
Russian forces were “involved in looting and theft from residents and from infrastructure sites and are taking away equipment, food, and vehicles to the Russian Federation,” it said in an update late on November 7.
The Ukrainian military reported hits on a Russian antiaircraft facility, ammunition dump, and the destruction of Russian armor in the Beryslav district of the Kherson region, in its November 8 statement. It said 32 Russian military personnel were killed.
The information could not be independently confirmed.
Meanwhile, Zelenskiy said the escalation of Russian missile strikes against critical infrastructure in his country has only resulted in the world responding with new aid to Ukraine.
Ukraine has received “new systems that significantly strengthen our air defense,” Zelenskiy said on November 7 in his nightly address. Kyiv will do everything “to ensure that as many countries as possible join this aid,” he said.
He added that the protection of the Ukrainian sky was “not 100 percent, but we are gradually moving toward our goal.”
Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov announced earlier on November 7 that Ukraine had received a shipment of NASAMS and Apside air defense systems to help it defend against Russian missile and drone attacks across the country.
“These weapons will significantly strengthen #UAarmy and will make our skies safer,” he said on Twitter. Reznikov did not specify which countries the systems were from, but in the tweet he thanked “our partners: Norway, Spain and the U.S.”